Facebook’s new chatbots still need work


Facebook debuted chatbots for Messenger this week to much fanfare, promising consumers a new way to interact with their favorite businesses over the company’s popular messaging service. The idea is that Messenger users could simply “chat” with these automated software programs to do things like read the latest news from CNN, get a weather report or even go shopping. In practice, however, the bots — at least at launch — failed to live up to the hype.

Trying to use the bots for simple tasks — like finding out if it would rain or buying a black shirt — was frustrating, disappointing and ultimately far less efficient than simply visiting the company’s website itself.

That’s not to downplay the potential for bots in the long term, or the possibilities provided by…

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