Facebook’s Messenger app has taken on a life of its own ever since the social network giant made an unpopular move last year and chiselled it out from the main Facebook experience. Even though this meant friends had to use two separate apps for private messaging and general networking, Facebook Messenger uptake soared. Yes, Facebook knew what it was doing.

The Messenger experience has been tweaked and iterated in the 12 months since it went out alone — it arrived on the Web under its own brand, and it has gone some way toward killing phone numbers with Message Requests. But the biggest move, undoubtedly, was Messenger’s shift toward becoming a platform, enabling developers to build and integrate apps with Messenger.

In effect, Facebook wants Messenger to be the go-to platform for communication between friends, customers, and businesses. It will serve as a customer service channel, where you can receive booking and order confirmations and updates, and where you can request changes. There are already some big-name partners on board, including clothes retailer Everlane and, more recently, airline KLM.

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