White House open sources Facebook messenger bot

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Monday, 17 October, 2016

White House open sources Facebook messenger bot

The US White House is encouraging more governments and agencies to build Facebook messenger bots using open-source code developed for President Obama.

In August, Obama became the first US president to publicly respond to a Facebook message sent to him by a citizen using the first-ever government bot on Facebook Messenger. Since then he has received more than 1.5 million messages from all around the world.

Due to the success of the program, the White House is open-sourcing the messenger technology as a Drupal module.

“We’re open-sourcing this White House technology, with the hope that other governments and developers can build similar services — and foster similar connections with their citizens — with significantly less upfront investment,” White House Chief Digital Officer Jason Goldman said in a blog post.

The module includes recommended steps and boiler plate code, as well as some lines describing hopes for the future of the code and encouraging open source developers to get involved.

“While Drupal may not be the platform others would immediately consider for building a bot, this new White House module will allow non-developers to create bot interactions — with customised language and workflows — and empower other governments and agencies who already use Drupal to power their digital experiences,” Goldman said.

“Now, there is one less barrier to being more accessible and responsive to constituents. We look forward to seeing what others build on top of this work.”

The project is being hosted on the White House’s Github.

Image courtesy of benstein under CC

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