If you thought that your Facebook Messenger chats would be free from monetization, think again. It looks like Facebook has begun to roll out an interesting new way to make money off of its wildly popular mobile chat application. While the new strategy doesn’t appear to be anywhere near as annoying as some of the advertising and sponsorship schemes we’ve seen in rival chat apps, feelings will undoubtedly be mixed if and when this new feature begins rolling out to users en masse.
As noted by Business Insider, some Facebook Messenger users have reported seeing a new section start to pop up in the app. When a user taps in the search bar to “search for people and groups,” a special new section labeled “Suggested Businesses” appears.
According to the report, there are 20 companies listed in a new scrollable carousel. With this section, Facebook displays companies that users can chat with, though not all of the listed companies have set up their chat services yet since this feature is still so new. For the time being, the list populates before a search is even performed and the listed companies have nothing to do with the actual search. It seems fairly likely that companies will be able to pay to be featured in this section.
Here’s what it looks like:
Facebook has been known to test new features with small groups of account holders before making them available more widely, and it’s not clear when this new section will start rolling out to more Messenger users.