- David Ramos/Getty Images
- Facebook is putting an end to M, its hybrid human/artificial digital assistant that helped users make dinner reservations or get gift suggestions.
- M first launched in 2015 and never left beta mode. Only a few thousand people ever had access to it.
- Facebook isn’t scrapping all of its M technology. Companies can still launch chatbots for customer service, and M’s key-word driven suggestion feature will stay in place.
Facebook is putting an end to M, an ambitious digital assistant product unveiled two years ago that was supposed to be the company’s answer to Apple’s Siri and Google’s Assistant.
M, which was first announced in August 2015, used a mixture of artificial intelligence and human “trainers,” to answer Facebook user’s questions in the Messenger app. A user could ask M for a gift recommendation, or to book a dinner reservation, for example.
“We launched this project to learn what people needed and expected of an assistant, and we learned a lot,” a Facebook representative said in a statement on Mondayt. “We’re taking these useful insights to power other AI projects at Facebook.”
The project, which is still in beta, will officially shut down on January 19, Facebook said.
A source close to the situation told Business Insider that M was never rolled out more broadly than a couple thousand Facebook users – a small drop in the bucket for a company with 1.37 billion daily active users.
Though M has seen its last days, Facebook will keep its M “suggestion” feature, which jumps into conversations on its own, in order to suggest relevant stickers or to offer to schedule a meeting.
Other machine learning projects on Facebook, such as a tool that lets companies like Sephora build Facebook chatbots for customer service, will also remain in place.