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Facebook aims to make it easier for businesses and consumers to communicate

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FBAttendees walk past a Facebook logo during Facebook’s F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, April 30, 2019.Stephen Lam | Reuters

Facebook on Wednesday announced a number of new developer tools, including several messaging features for businesses, at its virtual F8 software developer conference. 

The event marked Facebook’s first software developer conference since 2019, as the Covid pandemic forced the company to cancel last year’s event.

This year, Facebook placed a focus on new features to help businesses communicate with consumers directly via its messaging services. This is a key focus for Facebook, which is seeking to enable more e-commerce transactions directly on its services and enable businesses to handle more of their customer support via Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram.

Here are some key announcements:

Messenger API for Instagram: Facebook announced that all businesses will now have access to the application program interface (API) for messaging on Instagram. This will make it easier for businesses to automate and manage direct message communication with users. For instance, businesses could create automatic responses or workflows for common questions like “What’s your return policy?” or “Please track my order,” before kicking off a chat with a live representative.

Already, these types of tools exists for businesses to