White House Launches Facebook Messenger Bot for Citizens to Contact POTUS
Jason Goldman, chief digital officer at the White House, announced today on his Medium blog that people can now send notes to President Obama via the office’s Facebook Messenger chatbot. Facebook users can simply go to the White House’s Facebook page, click on “Message,” and type in their messages to POTUS — just as they text their friends on Facebook. Since this is the president, after all, senders’ contact information will be collected for security purposes.
According to Goldman, reading letters from the public is a White House tradition dating back to the presidency of Thomas Jefferson. President Obama’s daily routine includes reading ten letters to him selected by his staff every night. The days are long gone when people had to mail handwritten, stamped letters and wait for days, if not weeks, to have their messages delivered, much less answered. Fun fact: The White House started accepting electronic letters as early as 1994!
The current White House residents, President Obama and his wife and daughters, are known for their digital savviness and quick adoption of new communication vehicles. In 2013, the President and First Lady started their Twitter accounts @POTUS and @FLOTUS, which together engage more than ten million users. In 2016, First Lady Michelle Obama also opened a personal Snapchat account, @michelleobama, to connect with younger citizens using their favorite social platform.
The new Facebook Messenger chatbot is yet another first by the Obama family, allowing we-the-people to share our thoughts with POTUS instantaneously.