Everything you need to know about Facebook Messenger’s M assistant

Facebook's M assistant can now suggest movies thanks to Fandango

facebook m beta discontinued
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
Notice a little “M” logo near the textbox in Facebook Messenger? It’s the social media network’s artificially intelligent assistant that’s meant to offer suggestions in your conversations — similar to how Google Assistant can jump in to help in conversations via Allo. With the assistant officially rolled out across the U.S., it is now available in both English and Spanish to all Messenger users in the country.

M is now able to provide suggestions in Spanish — like sending payments or sharing your location — and the feature is gradually rolling out in Mexico for iOS and Android, Facebook told Digital Trends. If you’d like to receive M Suggestions in Spanish, you can change the preferred language to Spanish.

M itself is powered by Facebook-built AI, and so far works by popping up in your chats when it detects that it can help with something. For example, if you mention going somewhere, M can detect this and will offer up a quick way to book a ride with Uber or Lyft (you can set your preference) — all without leaving the Messenger app.

Before diving into what Facebook’s M can do, there are a few things to keep in mind. Most importantly, Facebook is still working on M and it’s likely the assistant will evolve a lot over the next few months and years. It will also roll out globally at some point as Facebook says users across the globe will “start seeing a redesigned way to compose messages.” If you want nothing to do with this AI revolution, or if you think M makes your conversations too cluttered, you can mute it by heading to Messenger’s settings — tap on the person icon on the top-right of Messenger’s main page, then tap M settings and toggle Suggestions off.

A lot of M’s functions are available in Facebook Messenger — simply tap on the “+” icon on the left, and you’ll be able to share your location, book a ride, plan an event, and more. All M does is take away an extra step, and it reminds you these features exist in Messenger. If M has indeed caught your eye, here’s a list of all the ways it can currently help in your conversations.

M suggestions

facebook messenger predictions 2018 m calls

With Facebook’s latest update, M will proactively make suggestions, including for GIFs, quick responses, and movies. Previously, M suggested that you save your content from within Messenger conversations, allowing you to easily read, watch, or share content with other friends. But now, in addition to suggesting URLs, videos, pages, and other internal Facebook content, the bot will also help you jazz up your exchanges.

With GIF suggestions, anytime you type in a phrase like, “Hello” or “See you later,” a GIF picker bar will show you moving images that could be used instead. After all, why say something with words when you can say it with a live picture? M will also now make suggestions to help you quickly reply to a message, which could save you precious seconds if you’re jumping from conversation to conversation.

Then, there’s M’s new Fandango chat extension, which is a bit creepy in that it “listens” to conversations with your friends, and will suggest nearby showtimes and theaters if it notes that you’ve been chatting (in Messenger) about a film. You can even buy tickets directly within Messenger.

“Moviegoing is inherently social, and we’ve been working with Facebook for several years on social innovations around movie discovery, planning and ticket buying,” Fandango president Paul Yanover said in a statement. “This is another great example of how we’re connecting fans with movies in the natural social environments where they are already discussing movies.”

The service will also suggest other things. For example, if you’re chatting with someone who is celebrating their birthday, M will suggest you send them a note or sticker.

Last, but not least, is voice or video calls. If M detects that someone expresses interest in a call, M will suggest a voice or video call within Messenger — and all you’ll have to do is tap a button to initiate that call.

Stickers

best messenger bots f8 2017 m
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Facebook’s M can help make using stickers a little easier, preventing the need to search through them. During your chats, M may suggest stickers relating to whatever you’re talking about. For example, if someone says goodbye, you may see a group of stickers depicting “goodbye,” like the image above. You can swipe left or right to hide these suggestions.

Location sharing

During a conversation, it might be appropriate to share your location with the other person in the chat. If you’re meeting up with a friend who asks where you are, M will suggest you share your location. It’s not hard to share your location without M, too. Tap the “+” icon on the left and scroll to Location. You can share your real-time location for 60 minutes.

Settings reminders

Your phone probably has a way to set reminders, such as with Siri on iOS or Google Assistant on Android. Reminders with M will involve others, such as when a significant other or friend asks you to remind them of something. These are not location-based reminders, sadly, but just time-based.

Sending and requesting money

It has been possible to send money to friends with Messenger for a while, but M makes it easy. If someone mentions sending or requesting money, M will ask members of the conversation if they want to follow through. It’s really pretty easy to use — but you will have to enter your payment information first. You can store your payment information beforehand by heading into Messenger’s settings and scrolling to Payments.

Planning Events

Facebook M can also help you plan out events. Perhaps the easiest way that it does so is by looking for things like restaurants nearby — so if the assistant sees you planning to meet up with a friend, it will let you create an event with a name, date, and time.

Hail a ride

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Along with helping you plan where you want to go, M can help you get there too. When you’re planning to meet up with a friend to go somewhere, M will suggest you book an Uber or Lyft, and it will help you through the booking process — you never have to leave Messenger.

Starting a poll

Last but not least is the ability to start a poll, however this option is only available in a group chat. If you’re asking a question in a group chat, for example, M might suggest a poll to more easily gather information.

Update: M now makes suggestions for movies thanks to a Fandango partnership. 

Product Review

LG's new Tone Platinum SE headphones let you rock out for longer than ever

The latest in LG’s Tone wireless headphones series, the new Tone Platinum SE, offer some impressive audio performance and Google Assistant access, but the real prize here is the 13-hour battery.
Mobile

Need a do-over? Here's how to factory reset an iPhone, from XS on down

Resetting an iPhone can alleviate all sorts of software woes, and wipe away personal data should you sell your device or give it to someone else. Here's how to factory reset an iPhone from within iOS or iTunes.
Mobile

Here’s how Google’s Call Screening A.I. works, and how to use it

Google's Pixel 3 and 3 XL smartphones can take excellent photos, but there are a few artificial intelligence features that steal the show. Call Screening uses Google Assistant to answer the phone for spam calls.
Home Theater

Google Translate busts out of Pixel jail, now works on any Assistant headphones

The best feature of Google’s Pixel Buds was the built-in real-time translation. Now that incredibly useful feature is available on any headphones that feature Google Assistant integration.
Product Review

Huawei’s monster Mate 20 X makes the Galaxy Note 9 look small

The Huawei Mate 20 X has a 7.2-inch screen, but is surprisingly manageable to hold, yet still a little too big to carry around. Huawei’s pushing the phone’s ability as a mobile gaming handheld, challenging the Nintendo Switch.
Mobile

How to sell your old Google Pixel or Pixel 2 for the most money

So, it's time for a expensive new smartphone, and you'd like to partially fund the purchase by selling your old Google Pixel. Find all the information you need to get as much money as possible for your Pixel or Pixel 2 here in our guide.
Photography

Camera shootout! Testing the latest Pixel, iPhone, and Galaxy Note in real life

Which takes the best photos, the Pixel 3 XL, iPhone XS Max, Galaxy Note 9, or Pixel 2 XL? We put the cameras on all these top-notch phones through their paces to see which performs best in the real world, from low light to portrait mode…
Mobile

The OnePlus 6T is coming a day earlier, event moved to October 29

According to a recent report, the launch of the OnePlus 6T could be different from any other OnePlus launch in history. How? It could have the backing of a major U.S. carrier. Here's everything we know about the OnePlus 6T.
Mobile

Sprint now lets you add Hulu's Live TV service to your unlimited plan

Sprint recently introduced three new data plans to its roster -- Unlimited Basic , Unlimited Plus, and Unlimited Premium. Here, we break down your options to help you decide which one is best for you and your family.
Mobile

Sams's Club offers $100 gift cards for iPhone XR pre-orders

After months of rumors and speculation, Apple has finally taken the wraps off of the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Now that the phones are out, you might be wondering how you can get them for yourself.
Mobile

It’s about time! A USB-C magnetic charger for the Apple Watch has finally arrived

While most of the buzz surrounding Apple has been about the iPhone XR, the company also introduced a new Apple Watch accessory. Starting October 24, a USB-C magnetic charger will be available for purchase.
Home Theater

Google Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra: Everything you need to know

Google's Chromecast plugs into your TV's HDMI port, allowing you to stream content from your tablet, laptop, or smartphone directly to your TV. Here's what you need to know about all iterations, including the 4K-ready Chromecast Ultra.
Product Review

Amazon’s child-friendly tablet is the complete package

Kids are tough on electronics and it’s difficult to police screen time and manage what they’re doing. The Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition could be the affordable answer to your prayers, with a rugged case and worry-free warranty.
Mobile

Huawei Mate 20 Pro vs. P20 Pro: Which 2018 Huawei flagship is best for you?

If you're tempted by Huawei's latest flagship, the Mate 20 Pro, but you're uncertain how it differs from the P20 Pro which Huawei released earlier this year, then we have you covered. Find out exactly what sets these two phones apart.