December 2, 2020
Facebook M

Facebook M, Standalone Personal Assistant, Shutting Down January 19th

Facebook M, a beta tested virtual assistant, will sunset on January 19th, less than three years after its initial launch in August 2015…

Only three years out-of-the-box and Facebook M will end on January 19th. Users included in the beta program received notices Facebook will shut down the service. The social network launched M back in August of 2015. At the time, it was quite innovative. Amazon just released Echo and the Google Assistant did not exist. Facebook leveraged Messenger with text-based interactions for its digital assistant.

Facebook M, Digital Assistant, to Shut Down

Although somewhat similar to other virtual assistants, M was different. It did not totally rely on artificial intelligence. Instead, Facebook M relied on humans to answer complex questions. For example, users could perform such tasks as setting a restaurant reservation, order flowers, or plan a vacation. 

Facebook M virtual assistant
Credit: Facebook / The Verge

Facebook’s goal was to use humans to train the M artificial intelligence model. Eventually, the digital assistant would not need human help. Even though the service is sun-setting, the M name will indeed live on. Facebook provides AI-powered suggestions in Messenger. So, if users want to get together for lunch, Messenger will suggest setting a reminder. And, the service still offers location broadcasting.

“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,” Facebook told The Verge in a statement.

Owen E. Richason IV

Covers social media, apps, search and like news. History buff, movie and theme park lover. Blessed dad and husband. Owen is also a musician and is the founder of Groove Modes.          

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