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Facebook Preps “Moneypenny” Assistant

Facebook is planning to join an intriguing frontier of the Internet: virtual assistants on mobile devices.

The company is working on a feature within Facebook Messenger that allows users to ask real people for help researching and ordering products and services, among other tasks. It’s being referred to internally as “Moneypenny,” according to three people briefed on it.

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The service seems designed to boost user engagement with Messenger, which Facebook is hoping to turn into a major platform.