Facebook Testing Ads In ‘Messenger’ App

The ads, they’re coming for you. Or at least they are if you use Facebook’s Messenger app to communicate with your friends.

messenger_adFacebook announced Wednesday that users of its Messenger app in Thailand and Australia have begun seeing ads from five advertising companies cropping up in the service’s homescreen.

The test ads will appear much like they do in Facebook’s Newsfeed or Instagram, as a carousel of posts that can be scrolled through left to right. The ads won’t actually interrupt messages. Instead, to see them, users will have to scroll down past the new message section.

The company says the tests are just the latest way for customers and businesses to interact. Facebook already allows a different kind of ad in Messenger: under the current program, sponsored messages are only sent as a private message to a user after they interact with a company.

Users in the new test can choose to hide or report specific ads using the dropdown menu in their Messenger. Additionally, advertisers won’t be able to message users directly unless a person starts the interaction and people will not see a message from a business that they didn’t initiate.

“We don’t want to even risk [invading user privacy],” Stan Chudnovsky, head of product for Messenger, tells Recode. “But until you try, you are never going to find out. That’s why we are going to try on a very small scale and see how people react.”

Chudnovsky says the company doesn’t have immediate plans to expand the tests, noting that the current experiment could last months before expansion is discussed.