Facebook Catches Up With WeChat; Promises Functions Beyond Messaging

By Bien R. Gruba III , Sep 17, 2016 11:20 PM EDT

Facebook's influence in the world is undeniable with its social media and messenger downloaded by a billion people. The ubiquitous app has become such a basic feature of everyday life that some people use it as their primary form of communication compared to regular phone calls and texts.

Nonetheless, the app is still purely a communication app and lags behind China's WeChat, which millions of Chinese have used from buying goods online to finding a nearby vet for their pets.

Mark Zuckerberg apparently feels that WeChat poses a threat to the dominance of Messenger and may have been taking steps to fend off the challenge. Coders recently may have discovered evidence to this claim.

According to Venture Beat, programmers apparently have discovered a mysterious line of code hidden inside Facebook's Messenger which promises to offer a new group chat feature that might enable users to transact business and pay for online purchases similar to messaging app rival Wechat.

Rooms The Answer To WeChat?

Tech analysts call this possible new feature as "Rooms." They say that Rooms may possess the capacity to create spaces inside Messenger that would allow users to discuss and exchange messages based on common interests. Each room can be shared to anyone with a Messenger app potentially allowing anyone to join the conversation.

Venture Beat speculates that Rooms have the potential to mimic the commerce and transactional functions of WeChat in China.

The website calls WeChat as one of the earliest progenitors of "conversational commerce" -

 a function that leading messaging apps like Whatsapp, Kakao Talk and Viber still do not possess.

WeChat is China's most dominant multipurpose app created by TenCent in 2010. The app boasts 700 million users who often utilize the app for QR scan codes to transact goods and services.

Facebook Taking Steps To Fight Off WeChat believes that Facebook has plans to accomplish what Wechat has done in China proven by its recent actions. It has already given its Messenger the ability to be a conduit for money transfers. The app has also been enabled to use chat robots, powered by artificial intelligence, which can give users suggestions from what dinner to eat to what movie is available in the cinemas.

If Facebook succeeds in copying the features of Wechat the dominance of the tech company would be nearly unassailable.

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