With stiff competition from Alexa, Cortana, the Google Assistant and Siri, Facebook needed to create an assistant who can stand out from the rest. Facebook introduced M in its Messenger chat app in 2015.
Different from generic chatbots that can automatically generate text responses from message histories, M Assistant is capable of handling most tasks, as long as they do not breach the law. However, its use was limited to only 2,000 people out of 1.3 Messenger users.
Last year Facebook added automatic actions and responses into Messenger conversations for millions of users. Shortly after, they got rid of the human-powered version of M once and for all.
Considering Facebook's broad deployment AI, M assistant pales in comparison to other features. Facebook counts on AI to interpret text, photos and videos for billions of users daily.
Below is a list of ways in which Facebook uses AI beyond M assistant:
- Predicting response to messages on Facebook Messenger
- Blocking offensive and inappropriate comments on posts
- Stabilizing photos and videos
- Location tracking for friend and event recommendations
- Facebook face recognition and notification in photos
- Automatic translation of texts and captions
- Adding interesting filters and effects to photos and videos
- Compiling relevant content on ‘Anniversary’ and ‘Friendship’ videos
- Detecting and purging content distributed by terrorists
- Identifying posts and Live videos that hint at dangerous behaviour
- Determine which posts to show on a news feed and in what order
- Showcasing the best ads to Facebook users
- Generating content under the search function
Having established its AI research lab back in 2013, Facebook has not yet ceased its search for new talent. As such, it is apparent that the company is determined to continue growing its AI capabilities.