chatbots, Interactivity, journalism

When chatbots talk about politics: 3 good approaches

Since the trend is to keep using Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger rather than downloading new apps, the media is investing in chatbots to engage with the audience. They keep users awake and speak the same language.

There have been several examples of chatbots for cooking, shopping or travelling. However, a politic chatbot is quite new. Below I share three good approaches when it comes to cover elections or represent politicians:

1. GloBot · Canada

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Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail has built a Facebook Messenger chatbot for the American elections that shares text, audio, and video from their website.

The bot, still under construction, guides the conversation through buttons and basic keywords.

What works

  • A simple menu that links to external data
  • Chopping the information into articles, videos, and audios

What doesn’t work

  • Tone of the conversation: very robotic
  • Keywords are limited and there aren’t replies for sentences out of scope

2. The White House · United States

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There is a quicker and easier way to send messages to President Obama than letters or emails. The White House has built this Facebook Messenger chatbot to facilitate citizens to post comments and questions. Apparently, Obama reads 10 of this messages every night.

What works

  • Easy to use: the user can only send a comment and fact check the information

What doesn’t work

  • Basic interaction: the user follows the conversation through buttons but not other questions or comments are accepted.
  • It doesn’t give further information about the request or related topics to engage citizens.

3. Politibot · Spain

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Spanish journalists, coders, and designers created a bot on Telegram to keep citizens updated along the Spanish elections. After this first attempt, they covered the Brexit referendum and now they are working on the American elections.

During the Spanish elections, it was sending daily notifications to raise awareness of the elections and provide with data and facts before going to the ballot boxes.

What works 

  • A simple menu that guides the user to main topics.
  • Interactive conversation since it accepts users’ questions and has standard replies
  • Audio, graphics, and images are displayed apart from text

What doesn’t work 

  • Replies from the chatbot are displayed immediately and sometimes with a long text that requires scrolling down more than once.

Do you know more examples? Let me know in the comments or at @mcrosasb

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2 thoughts on “When chatbots talk about politics: 3 good approaches

  1. Pingback: When chatbots talk about politics: 3 effective approaches | Online Journalism Blog

  2. Pingback: Five chatbots created by newsrooms in 2016 that we liked - Storybench

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