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Americans can now register to vote through Facebook Messenger

GoVoteBot programme is aimed at piquing the interest of youth, who are likely to refrain from the November 8 polls

Press Trust of India  |  San Francisco 

Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Non-registered Americans can now enroll themselves in the voters' list through Facebook Messenger for the upcoming presidential election following the launch of an automated tool by a US-based organisation.

The non-profit public service organisation, Ad Council, launched its GoVoteBot programme aiming to pique interest among the youth, who are likely not to show up during November 8 polls.

The automated tool within Facebook's Messenger is designed to make it easy for prospective ballot casters to get registered as voters and know election related logistics during the polls.

The tool will not only simplify and personalise the task, but it will also provide some amusement along the way, digital media website, Mashable technology, reported.

"It has a bit of a cheeky personality. But it's completely nonpartisan. It has no opinion on who you vote for," said Dzu Bui, Thed Council's VP for campaign development.

The users have to type a simple introductory greeting to the bot, and it will respond with a drop-down menu of options, including a polling location finder and absentee options, in addition to registration options and links.

Voters can choose one of the options according to their needs and complete the process.

The integration is made possible by data pulled from Google Civic - the search giant's repository of electoral information - and the US Vote Foundation.

The Ad Council, which is committed to non-partisanship in all of its campaigns, has a decade-long history of encouraging civic engagement. But this project marks the first time that the organisation has ever experimented with automated bots.

"We set out to encourage millennials to vote, but wanted to find a fun and simple way to have a conversation (about) where they are," said Chloe Gottlieb, the executive creative director at R/GA ad agency, which has partnered with Ad Council for the campaign.

"For us, it made sense to create this on Facebook Messenger. We designed it to pull in thousands of data points from all 50 states and then streamed it into one interface [so that participants] could use [it] quickly and easily," Gottlieb said.

Facebook first launched its big bot push in April at its annual F8 developer conference, although the initial batch left a lot to be desired. By July, the number of bots on the platform had grown to 11,000, the report said.

First Published: Sun, October 09 2016. 16:32 IST