Facebook Messenger partners with devs to provide free official coronavirus responses

Facebook is partnering with its developer community to provide free services to help fight the coronavirus outbreak.

The company will help government health organisations and recognised agencies like the UN to connect with Facebook’s developer community to scale their responses to the pandemic.

Facebook says its developer partners are offering their services to such organisations for free during this crisis to help tackle it and save lives.

Among the examples of services being offered by developers is for things like help with automating responses to common questions, which should help to free up resources. Developers can also help in areas such as sharing updates to an organisation’s audience and transitioning from an automated conversation to a live person where necessary.

Dr Zafar Mirza, the Special Assistant to Pakistan’s Prime Minister on Health, said: 

“Facebook’s support on the global coronavirus crisis will be crucial for strengthening public awareness and empowering our citizens with key health tips that will keep communities safe in Pakistan and around the world.

The Messenger experience allows our Ministry to scale our support and serve citizens seeking up to date information on the coronavirus, while keeping our helpline open for more critical cases.”

With its ~1.3 billion monthly active users, Facebook Messenger is just behind WhatsApp (~1.6 billion) as the world’s most popular instant messaging service. Facebook Messenger allows for a vast number of people to be quickly reached with the latest information in a crisis.

Facebook wrote in a release:

“Communities around the world are dealing with quarantines and other disruptions to daily life because of the coronavirus outbreak. Our mission to help people connect and be closer together is more important than ever, and it’s critical we provide people with full access to the latest and most reliable information.

As is common in any crisis, people are using digital channels like Messenger to stay connected and get information from trusted health authorities that are on the front lines fighting this global pandemic.”

The social media giant is launching a hackathon which, like everything this year looks set to be, will be held online using Devpost. Facebook invites developers “to build messaging solutions that address challenges related to the coronavirus such as social distancing and keeping people educated and informed.”

Argentina’s Ministry of Health and Ministry of Innovation has already launched a Messenger-powered experience which provides reliable updates on the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. In a time when misinformation is rife, it’s important people know where they can get trusted information.

Developers who are interested in participating in Facebook’s initiatives can subscribe to the Facebook for Developers newsletter for updates.

Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their use-cases? Attend the co-located 5G ExpoIoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo, AI & Big Data Expo, and Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London, and Amsterdam.

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