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Facebook opens Messenger service to apps, retailers

Social giant presses on with strategy to extend reach

Mobility, Mobility applications, Social Media, Web, Mobile web, Facebook Incorporation

Facebook has announced that its Messenger service will be open to app developers and e-retailers, in a bid by the social media giant to reach more online users, Reuters reported.

Facebook's main social network service has a user base of around 1.4bn, but its Messenger service is less than half that figure, at around 600m. Facebook hopes to decouple the messaging platform from the social media network as it tries to fend off competition.

According to March 2015 figures from statista.com, Twitter now has 288m monthly active users, Snapchat has 200m and WeChat 468m.

"This is just the first step toward creating better sharing experiences across this whole family of apps," said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg yesterday.

Retailers can accept purchases via messages if the consumer's payment details are on file, according to David Marcus, Facebook's head of messaging products. He added that the service might be expanded to cover businesses other than retail.

Marcus said the new features would not be part of Facebook's WhatsApp messaging service, which was installed on a wide variety of devices, including low-end models that were ill-equipped to run the features.