Facebook M, a virtual assistant using a mix of artificial intelligence (AI) and human input which was introduced in August 2015, was earmarked for closure.
In a statement to The Verge, the social media giant said it launched M to gather information on “what people needed and expected of an assistant” and, having learned much, it will now use the information “to power other AI projects at Facebook.” The company added it was “very pleased with the performance of M suggestions in Messenger, powered by our learnings from this experiment.”
M was only available through a bot on Facebook Messenger to about 2,000 people living in California. Its last day will be 19 January.
The virtual assistant was supposed to be made available to more users over time, as Facebook hoped the humans behind the service would train the AI to become self-sufficient. However, the project remained in private beta at the time of the closure decision.
M will live on by offering suggestions to users in Messenger conversations.