Facebook pulls plug from M AI personal assistant in Messenger app

Anne Freier

In Mobile Advertising

January 10, 2018

Facebook is putting an end to its M AI virtual assistant two and half years after the service was first launched.
M AI used actual humans to train the technology to say the right things. The text-based virtual assistant was available through Facebook Messenger, but only to a select group of 2,000 people in California.
On January 19, the service will be shut down and contractors who worked on the project will receive new assignments.
Deemed an ‘experiment’ by the social network, Facebook says that part of the service is living on via M suggestions, which provide automated suggestions on Messenger.
In a statement, the company said:

“We launched this project to learn what people needed and expected of an assistant, and we learned a lot. We’re taking these useful insights to power other AI projects at Facebook. We continue to be very pleased with the performance of M suggestions in Messenger, powered by our learnings from this experiment.”

However, bot-based services are facing a slow takeoff and M AI suffered a clear lack of interest from users.
There’s a place for Messenger bots and they could prove useful in the future in helping users run tasks and answering questions. However, that time may not be here just yet, or perhaps Messenger wasn’t the place to start.