Stan Chudnovsky, head of Messenger, told Venture Beat that "We’ll start slow ...When the average user can be sure to see them we truly don’t know because we’re just going to be very data-driven and user feedback-driven on making that decision".The app is aimed primarily at old Android phones and regions where high-speed Internet is not widely available.

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News publisher bots "message subscribers directly with news and other information", In August 2015, Facebook announced M, an artificial intelligence virtual assistant for use in Messenger that is capable of automatically completing tasks for users, such as purchase items, arrange gift deliveries, book restaurants, and arrange travels.

Facebook announced a "Home" button as a central location for sending and receiving messages.

The app comes with some differences compared to the standard version: it was designed for a young audience without phone numbers, so allows registration with first and last names only; its launch was primarily for i Pad tablets with the i OS operating system in the United States only, though later support for Android was announced; parents have oversight and control, with requirements about identity verification and approval of contacts; there are no in-app purchases nor advertisements, and thus also no data collection for advertising purposes; children's accounts are not visible in search on Facebook; and the child's account does not automatically migrate to a full Facebook account once the child turns 13 years old (the legal age of Facebook registration).

It features augmented reality filters and lenses, along with games and educational content.

In May 2017, Facebook revamped the design for Messenger on Android and i OS, bringing a new home screen with tabs and categorization of content and interactive media, red dots indicating new activity, and relocated sections.

In December 2017, Facebook announced "Messenger Kids", a new app aimed for persons under 13 years of age.

After being separated from the main Facebook app, Messenger had 600 million users in April 2015, growing to 900 million in June 2016, 1 billion in July 2016, and 1.2 billion in April 2017.

In October 2016, Facebook released Facebook Messenger Lite, a stripped-down version of Messenger with a reduced feature set.

It received a score of 2 out of 7 points on the scorecard.

It received points for having communications encrypted in transit and for having recently completed an independent security audit.

At its announcement, Facebook told the media that Messenger Kids was significantly different from the standard version, with no advertisements, in-app purchases or data collection, and with strict policies in place.