Facebook Messenger: The new way to contact the president


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Starting Wednesday, you can message the White House on Facebook and let the president know what is on your mind.

The White House has launched a Facebook Messenger chatbot to walk you through the process to reach the commander-in-chief.

The new bot is just one more way to make it easier for citizens to engage with government and reach citizens where they are, wrote Jason Goldman, White House chief digital officer, in a Medium post.

“The White House’s Messenger bot, a first of its kind for any government the world over, will make it as easy as messaging your closest friends,” Goldman wrote.

The use of chatbots coincides with the administration’s recent efforts to get ahead on potential future uses and risks of artificial intelligence. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced an initiative in May to discuss artificial intelligence and held several workshops on various topics related to AI. OSTP also put out a request for information on artificial intelligence in June.

[Read more: White House seeks public input on artificial intelligence]

And as FedScoop reported in a recent article, Booz Allen Hamilton claims that messaging, through the use of chatbots, will in the next five years become the customer service norm.

[Read more: Techies: In 5 years, chatbots could become a govt customer service norm]

FedScoop took the tool for a test drive. Upon opening a message window to chat with the White House, the bot promptly jumped into conversation.

“Hi! It’s great to hear from you—and we’re excited to learn what’s on your mind,” it said. “(Fun fact: the President reads ten of these messages every night.)”

“Ready to get started?” the bot asks.

The automated chatbot then invites users to write a message to the president, giving them a chance to check it over before sending and taking down their contact information.

To wrap up the conversation, the bot sent FedScoop a video of the president talking about what citizen letters mean to him and a parting smiley face emoji.

You too can message the White House by clicking here.

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artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots, Facebook, Government IT News, White House