The White House Is Now Using Facebook Messenger So You Can Chat With Obama

Introducing the first presidential chatbot

If you've ever thought of writing a letter to the president but were too lazy to swing by the post office, the process just got a whole lot easier.

The White House has launched a chatbot for Facebook Messenger that lets any of the more than 1 billion users on the messaging app to send a note to President Barack Obama.

Through the automated messaging platform—which dozens of brands have used since Facebook first debuted it earlier this year—Messenger users will be able to send Obama a missive of their own, which the administration says will be read along with the other letters he reads every night.

The app is the latest way to "meet people where they are," according to White House Chief Digital Officer Jason Goldman.

"Getting a word in with the president has always been one of the White House's most popular citizen services," Goldman wrote in a blog post. "As President Obama himself has pointed out, 'Abraham Lincoln was able to have regular office hours where people would come and wait outside his office, which was over in the residence.' Face-to-face time is a little harder to come by these days, but technology makes it possible for anyone with an internet connection to send a message to the president and his administration."

While the White House bot is easy to use, it's by no means the most comprehensive of chatbots. In fact, sending a message seems to be the only thing it's good for right now. On the other hand, news organizations for months have been using chatbots on Messenger and other platforms like Kik to distribute content, while brands have used bots to sell products, offer customer service or entertain users with characters from movies and TV shows.

The White House said the bot will make talking to the president as easy as messaging with friends. But because Obama plans to read just 10 messages every night, it's probably safe to say we all might have better luck hailing an Uber or ordering flowers.

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