Facebook reportedly intends to turn its Messenger instant messaging app into a distinct platform.
Next week, Facebook will hold its annual F8 developer conference, where the company will apparently encourage third party developers to create new content for its Messenger app.
TechCrunch claims that the social network is planning to introduce new ways to support such additional experiences on its messaging app, much in the same way that Asia-based rivals WeChat and Line have done so successfully. Both are ostensibly simple chat apps which act as portals through to additional services and functions.
It's claimed that Facebook will start slow with these third party additions. At first it will concentrate on "ways for content and information to flow through Messenger". Also, the company will initially work with a select few "preferred partners," with support eventually likely to spread out to more developers.
The report claims that Facebook is looking to revisit its earlier web platform efforts, when the social network hooked up to third party experiences like games. Given that it's increasingly hard for mobile app developers to have their projects stand out in crowded and clunky app stores, such an effort could well be appreciated on mobile.
Of course, Facebook will want to avoid falling into the problem of spam, as it did with those aforementioned web platform efforts.