Facebook unveils developer tools to boost business messaging on WhatsApp and Instagram

An advert for Facebook's F8 developer conference

Facebook is rolling out tools for developers to create new ways for businesses to interact with customers on Instagram and WhatsApp.

The social network also unveiled the general availability of Messenger API for Instagram as part of a series of announcements at its F8 Refresh conference that aims to create more business use cases on its platforms.

Facebook has been gradually building out an extensive commercial infrastructure around its social media, WhatsApp, and Instagram users. This was initially its advertising models, but that has extended into marketing, customer services, commerce, and also workplace productivity.

The company is hoping to support more types of messaging on WhatsApp, which will include a business alert for when items are back in stock and a separate way for people to opt into messaging with businesses through a new 'Login Connect' feature.

"Our vision is for messaging to be the primary way people and businesses communicate," the company said in a blog post. "Making it is as convenient, unobtrusive and personalised as possible, using the same familiar apps and features used to communicate with family and friends today."

F8 was originally a hackathon that evolved into a bigger event over time, however, the last two installments have been virtual due to the pandemic. No big products or hardware announcements have featured but developer updates have taken prominence with business-oriented developer tools paving the way for the firm to bolsters its commercial strategy on both WhatsApp and Instagram.

Facebook also announced a new app builder, called "Business Apps", that developers can access from its Business Suite - this was launched last year as a single hub for businesses to manage activity across Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger.

Bobby Hellard

Bobby Hellard is ITPro's Reviews Editor and has worked on CloudPro and ChannelPro since 2018. In his time at ITPro, Bobby has covered stories for all the major technology companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, and regularly attends industry-leading events such as AWS Re:Invent and Google Cloud Next.

Bobby mainly covers hardware reviews, but you will also recognize him as the face of many of our video reviews of laptops and smartphones.