Meta Verified & Meta AI launched for WhatsApp Business in India, Brazil

New Delhi: Social media giant Meta is introducing a host of services for popular messaging platform WhatsApp’s business version, first in emerging economies that are also amongst its largest markets, and then elsewhere, a top official of the company said.

On Thursday, Meta introduced services ranging from verifying and authenticating businesses to integrating its own AI into customers’ chats with businesses. The features are being tried out first in India and Brazil, and then they will be rolled out to more countries in the coming months, Meta’s vice president of business messaging, Nikila Srinivasan, said in a media interaction on Thursday.

The Anti-Spam Feature

Even as spam messages have been on the rise on chat platforms, including WhatsApp, Srinivasan said that Meta’s AI tools will be used for better marketing optimization, and, ultimately help businesses move away from spamming potential customers.

“We hear from businesses that they are not going to really achieve their business outcomes by spamming people,” said Srinivasan. “They want to be able to reach people who are actually going to engage with the messages and who want to actually receive those messages. So, for us, continuing to invest in all of the things that are going to make user experience top notch in WhatsApp continues to be a huge priority.”

What is Meta Verified?

Announced at Meta’s Conversations 2024 on Thursday in Brazil’s Sao Paulo, Meta Verified is aimed at reducing fraud and ensuring that users are talking to genuine businesses. In turn, businesses will get protection from impersonation. The feature will be live in India, Brazil, Indonesia and Colombia, and rolled out to other countries gradually.

Srinivasan added that a robust verification process will be adopted for granting the Meta Verified badge to businesses, which will be visible on their channel and custom WhatsApp page. These businesses will receive enhanced account support from Meta and will be able to use WhatsApp across multiple devices for their employees.

AI in Your Chat

As Meta doubles down on WhatsApp conversations for driving businesses, it will also introduce AI into chats for conversation with consumers that can be activated by the business. This is aimed at enabling businesses to utilise their resources more efficiently. Consumers will be made aware that they’re chatting with AI. The WhatsApp Small Business App will also get an AI assistant, which will help businesses create ads that can run on Instagram or Facebook.

Small businesses will be able to use an ‘Ad Manager’ tool to ensure that relevant messages reach the right subset of users, instead of businesses messaging users that opt-in to receive messages. This is expected to lead to better returns on investment made by businesses, and also allow people to engage with the businesses more meaningfully. This particular feature is being tried out in several countries, including Mexico and Indonesia.

The AI tools will also enable businesses to follow up with customers on their purchases, help them find products or services, or even offer discounts.

Many Assistants, Not One

“Our vision is not just to build a single AI assistant, but also to enable lots of different AIs that can serve different purposes, including for businesses. And those AIs need to be aligned with your products and services. Getting this right is going to be a huge unlock for businesses’ ability to scale, so we’re testing it with a small number of English languages businesses in India and Singapore to start. And we’re going to bring this to Brazilian businesses soon,” chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg said at the event in Sao Paulo.

A calling feature within a WhatsApp Business chat for large businesses is being tried out in India and Brazil, which will enable consumers to call a business directly to resolve their issues. Srinivasan said the feature which was available with small businesses on WhatsApp will now be there for large businesses, and would be of use to consumers that have complex requests or problems that require intervention of customer care executives.


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Published: 06 Jun 2024, 11:02 PM IST

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