Facebook is killing M, its personal chatbot assistant

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Facebook announced today that on January 19 it will discontinue personal assistant services for Messenger intelligent assistant M.

"We launched this project to learn what people needed and expected of an assistant, and we learned a lot".

Facebook believed that with enough experience and tweaking, it might be possible to someday roll M out to its broader user base.

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A Facebook spokesperson confirmed that the M Concierge service is dead, but he chalked it up to the company not getting what it wanted from M, and he said it's not at all accurate that AI is getting short shrift going forward.

The few people that used M will be disappointed, because Facebook is now shutting it down. M Suggestions shows context-aware suggestions within conversations in Messenger, helping users with things like making meeting plans, or just showing some simple stickers/emoji suggestions for replies. In addition, there are plenty of other human-run concierge services that charge a pretty penny to to a similar job. "We're taking these useful insights to power other AI projects at Facebook", a statement provided to VentureBeat read. Yeah, at least Facebook didn't fire them all unexpectedly like they did to contractors working on the Trending Topics team.

Though M has seen its last days, Facebook will keep its M "suggestion" feature, which jumps into conversations on its own, in order to suggest relevant stickers or to offer to schedule a meeting. Facebook eventually got rid of the contractors and transitioned to leaning on its algorithms to power the product.

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Facebook is shutting down its Messenger virtual assistant, M, which helps users make dinner reservations or get gift suggestions. But the company isn't the only tech giant that's made a big push. And, over time, it would become sophisticated enough to become a more sophisticated assistant in the vein of Siri, Alexa or Assistant.

Relative to Facebook's expansive use of AI, M assistant was never very significant.

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