Can Facebook Messenger Chat Bot WeBot Be a Game-Changer for Political Protesters?

If you want to join the demonstrations, a new chat bot just launched to help you get out there

For the first time since the turbulent 1960s, protest has become daily fodder for the news. Unprecedented crowds have filled the streets to express outrage over President Donald Trump‘s stated objectives and flurry of executive orders and to pressure representatives to do the right thing.

All over the world, people are standing in solidarity with protesters, using social media to organize, connect, petition and trade information.

If you want to join the demonstrations, a new chat bot just launched to help you get out there.

WeBot is a free Facebook Messenger bot that uses your location to deliver all the information you need.

Flatiron Collective, the New York-based growth accelerator, conceived the bot in collaboration with Brooklyn brothers Logan and Nathan Bernard to help spread the word and get people involved. The team was inspired to create the application after protests over the Muslim travel ban. When they saw the number of motivated, energized people showing up, they wanted to help. Logan Bernard explained:

We saw this firsthand in New York City and wanted to keep this rush of unifying energy going. We felt we could contribute by creating a bot that helps people get organized.

Signup is simple. There’s nothing to download, and it won’t take up memory on your phone. Go to the WeBot Facebook page or search for WeBot on your Facebook Messenger app, and click “Get Started.”

Once you enter your location, either manually or using your phone’s GPS, the program will find political protest events in your area and send you alerts. You can RSVP to join events and share to your own page. You can also check events in other areas by clicking “city” and typing in the name of any city.

Flatiron Collective founder and CEO Ryan Faber said:

Facebook Messenger bots have been hyped for months, but nothing has broken through. Both discovery and retention have been problematic, leading to new bots popping up and then quickly fading into oblivion. We built WeBot with this in mind and, through our social sharing and reminder logic, we have been able to deliver an 11.2 percent share rate and a 37.4 percent retention rate, which is incredibly promising.

The reasons to protest will keep coming, and the public needs to stay engaged and involved. We’re facing battles on every front, from preventing nuclear war to keeping environmental protections in place here at home. Social media is the perfect vehicle to unite protesters and create events, but before WeBot, unless your friends were involved and sharing details, it wasn’t always easy to find out about events.

Organized protests include mail, email and phone campaigns, as well as petitions, marches and strategy meetings. It seems that we have reached the point where we must remind the government that they work for us.

WeBot is still in the early stages, and the Bernard brothers say they’ll continue to improve the tool, with the goal of bringing people and groups together to oppose violations of civil and human rights, protect the environment against elected officials who value money over all else and guard the very underpinnings of our government from foreign interference.

We can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines.

Fist image courtesy of johnhain.

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