Having announced bot support for its Messenger platform earlier this month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said “this is all very early, and we’re rolling these experiences out carefully and slowly over time”.
“Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve talked about steps we’re taking to build messaging into a platform that developers and businesses can build on,” he said on a results call, adding that he is “excited about what we’re building around messaging”.
While Jan Koum, WhatsApp CEO, earlier said he wants to focus on “commercial participation”, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said that “we are not rolling out any monetisation products on WhatsApp right now, but we did start that process at F8 on Messenger”.
Users globally are spending on average more than 50 minutes a day using Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger, “and that doesn’t even include WhatsApp,” said Zuckerberg.
Between Messenger and WhatsApp, people send around 60 billion messages every day.
Facebook is also “happy with the way that Instagram is growing”, with more than 200,000 businesses advertising on it every month, and it wants to focus on making the user experience “even more engaging”.
The time people spend watching videos on Instagram increased by more than 40 per cent over the preceding six months, “presenting a big opportunity for marketers”, the social media giant said.
However, Facebook is still concerned that users are becoming passive and wants to encourage them to create and share more content. Earlier this week, it was reported to be working on a camera app for this purpose.
In Q1, Facebook also started shipping Oculus Rift.
“We’ve got a lot of great content, with more than 50 games and apps built for Rift,” said Zuckerberg, adding that “this is very early, and we don’t expect VR to take off as a mainstream success right away… But eventually, we believe that VR is going to be the next big computing platform, and we’re making the investments necessary to lead the way there.”
The company said there are now hundreds of apps built specifically for Samsung’s Gear VR headset and people have watched more than 2 million hours of video on it.