Facebook Developing Human-Powered VA ‘Moneypenny’


Facebook is reportedly working on its own digital assistance code named “Moneypenny,” claims a report from The Information. Not many details about Moneypenny are known, but the report says it will come with Facebook’s Messenger app.

Facebook Developing Human-Powered VA ‘Moneypenny’

How it’s different from rivals

As more and more tech giants come up with their own brand of virtual assistance technology, the social network does not want to be left behind, and therefore is working on a hybrid feature that could help users in buying products and services online. Moneypenny can be seen as a gateway to ask real people for help in research and buying products and services. The Information states that the name Moneypenny is inspired from the James Bond franchise character M’s secretary to bring a human touch to modern digital assistants.

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Apple has Siri, Google has Google Now and Microsoft has Cortana as first-party virtual assistants, but none of them have any live human assistance. Facebook’s Moneypenny, which brings virtual personal assistance, could be a combination of Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s “Echo” virtual assistant hardware platform.

Will Facebook charge for Moneypenny?

As of now, there is no information on how the social network plans to deal with incoming requests through Moneypenny, but as per the report, the business model could be similar to services such as Magic. Such services usually charge a service fee in addition to the delivery cost.

Although Moneypenny could pay itself by driving Messenger adoption and expanding the company’s access to consumer data, it is still not decided if the service will be offered free of charge. Also Facebook is expected to offer its services to all major smartphone platforms and the Web.

Facebook’s development of a virtual assistant is the latest sign about how seriously the firm is when it comes to Messenger. Of late, Facebook has been making efforts to offer more direct transactions and recently added a person-to-person money transfer feature in Messenger. Over the past few months, the social network has been working to develop Messenger as a platform by opening up the service to third-party iOS app integration and encouraging developers to construct apps for the service.

In pre-market trading today, Facebook shares were up 0.22%. On Monday, shares closed up 2.44% at $90.10, and year to date, the stock is up by almost 14%.

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