Facebook M: 10 Things We Wish It Could Do - InformationWeek
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8/30/2015
10:06 AM
David Wagner
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Facebook M: 10 Things We Wish It Could Do

Facebook has a new digital assistant, Facebook M, to rival Siri and Cortana. Here's what we wish it could do.

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Facebook is testing out a new digital assistant called Facebook M. This is a big deal. According to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, 1 billion users worldwide were active on the site in a single day. This is a first for the site, and it happened on Aug. 24.

That means 1 billion people may someday use Facebook M in a single day. Facebook claims 1.5 billion users log in at least once a month. That's a far bigger reach than either Siri or Cortana has at the moment (though Cortana has a shot at surpassing that if people actually use it as part of Windows 10).

Facebook M does what most digital assistants do. It can search the Internet, update you on travel plans, and make reservations. Facebook M also has a human element run by human operators who will take your requests. You can ask them to call your cable provider and ask for a new copy of your bill, for instance. No one knows exactly where the line is on what Facebook M will and will not do yet, or whether it could ever scale to serve 1 billion people.

[ Of course, if Facebook gets telepathy right, it won't need a digital assistant. Read Why Facebook, Telepathy Don't Mix. ]

It looks like Facebook M is the company's best play yet to gain your trust, so that you offer up the only private information they don't have yet, such as banking information, social security information, and your home address. These and other personal identifiers might be required for the Facebook M service to complete errands for you. Imagine giving Facebook even more information than it already has?

On the other hand, you already trust the site with pictures of your kids, so how could it get worse? I say go whole-hog. In that spirit, here's what I hope to have Facebook M accomplish:

10 Things We Wish Facebook M Would Do

1. "Like" all the pictures of my friends' kids. I like kids. I have my own. Mine will always be cuter than everyone else's to me, so why pretend? I only "like" my friends' pictures, because they liked the pictures of my kids. Now we're stuck in a mutual circle of like. Facebook M, please click that little like thumb for me, so I can get back to not looking at pictures of other people's kids.

(Image: is0b3lpalm3rs0n via Flickr)

(Image: is0b3lpalm3rs0n via Flickr)

2. Report every ad as spam. My current Facebook ads are for toilet paper and a trip to Hawaii. I've already got toilet paper. And do I look like I can afford to go to Hawaii? Facebook M, do me a favor and keep axing those ads until something useful pops up, like an ad for free trips to Hawaii.

3. Get rid of those ridiculous Instagram filters. Why is it that everyone wants to make their pictures look like they were taken by a Polaroid in the 80s or in an old Western saloon? Facebook M, please, unfilter all the filters.

4. Find something nice to say for my friend's birthday. I like my friends. I like celebrating their birthdays. But Facebook friends aren't all friends, you know? So every day I struggle to come up with something nice to say to an almost stranger on their birthday. Facebook M, use your database to find the thing we have in common, and write a joke about, k?

(Image: SomeECards)

(Image: SomeECards)

5. Shop for friend's birthdays. Facebook supposedly knows us better than we know ourselves. It ought to be able to buy a present for my real friends that they'll like, right? Do it, Facebook M.

6. LOL for me. Really. How often do you laugh out loud alone in a room? In fact, Facebook says finally we're ditching LOL, so "haha" for me, too, please.

7. Beat that Candy Crush level. Really. I can't do it. I want to play the next level. Win it for me. But don't use those free color bombs. I'm saving them.

8. Ask Cortana to remind me it is my wedding anniversary. I'm too busy to talk to both of you. You do it.

9. Finish this political argument with my second cousin once removed. I thought it would be a single post. Now it is 10. Please, Facebook M, finish this argument. I don't want to give up, but I have stuff to do.

10. Protect my privacy. Never mind. That's too much to ask from Facebook.

David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio
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vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
9/2/2015 | 4:40:05 PM
Re: MYOB
@jastroff:  I just asked Siri what it meant and she said, "Hmmmm. let me think about that..."  :)
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
9/2/2015 | 4:27:23 PM
Re: MYOB
Don't know what the M stands for, sorry. I'm still gobsmacked by the FB change in the timeline, what I have to see, and that I can report all my friends' postings as spam. That's a lot of change in a week...
mejiac
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mejiac,
User Rank: Ninja
8/31/2015 | 3:29:08 PM
Re: Facebook M: 10 Things We Wish It Could Do
@zerox203,

Thank you for your comment,

I agree that the convenience of Siri (just press and hold) is hard to beat... altought Cortana is pretty cool since you can summon upon voice command.

Now...given the user base (1 Billions users.... that's with a "B"), I can definitly see folks ussing the assistance while using the app.

I know many folks then when they launch facebook, they'll spent a while reviewing post and making post, so for those having the assistant available is definitly a plus.

I don't think this will compete directly with Google Ok, Siri or Cortana, but will definitly give Facebook an extra push towards app dominance.
StaceyE
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StaceyE,
User Rank: Ninja
8/31/2015 | 2:47:45 PM
Re: MYOB
Then the internet will break for sure, without any help from the Kardashians....HAHA.. (see I took the advice about LOL).
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
8/31/2015 | 12:16:55 PM
Re: MYOB
What does the M stand for?
yalanand
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yalanand,
User Rank: Ninja
8/31/2015 | 10:49:49 AM
Re: MYOB
@broadway: I wish M could wipe me off the actual Facebook servers.
yalanand
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yalanand,
User Rank: Ninja
8/31/2015 | 10:48:55 AM
Re: Facebook M: 10 Things We Wish It Could Do
Siri is amazing. It may be less efficient than Cortana, but way more funny.
yalanand
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yalanand,
User Rank: Ninja
8/31/2015 | 10:47:57 AM
Re: MYOB
M, just secure my photos in the web with a password that only me and my friends know, so that anybody else cannot download that picture or take a screenshot of it.
zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
8/31/2015 | 8:45:17 AM
Re: Facebook M: 10 Things We Wish It Could Do
I've been out of the loop a bit, so this is the first I'm hearing about Facebook M. I'm somewhat skeptical of it's ability to compete with Siri, etc. just on principle. Siri's greatest strength is her convenience - you can ask your phone an offhand question at any time and get an answer... then you get in the habit of using it and use it for everything. Given the Facebook & Messenger apps' track record for giving me timely notifications (updates I've already checked on my PC appear a week later on my phone), I wonder if Facebook can really match that. I guess we'll have to wait and see.
Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Ninja
8/30/2015 | 10:57:23 PM
Re: MYOB
At a certain point, the best thing that M could do would be to allow us to be free of Facebook. M, deactivate my account and wipe away all proof that I ever participated on Facebook. Then make it so that I cannot rejoin when I suffer from regret in 3 months.
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