Facebook provides free Messenger tools to govts, healthcare agencies to combat coronavirus

By HT CORRESPONDENT
| Updated on Mar 24 2020, 12:41 PM IST
Facebook said that its developers will work without any additional charges to help with things like automating responses to commonly asked questions.
Facebook said that its developers will work without any additional charges to help with things like automating responses to commonly asked questions. (AP)

Tech companies such as Google, Microsoft and Facebook are proactively developing tools to help governments across the globe and healthcare agencies fight the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. While Microsoft has launched a Bing-powered tracker, Google has launched a website dedicated to disseminating authentic information about the outbreak. Now, Facebook has announced a series of measures that are likely to take this fight against coronavirus misformation a step further.

In a blog post on its platform, the social media giant announced that it would be providing free Facebook Messenger tools to governments and healthcare agencies to combat the coronavirus outbreak. "...we're launching a global program to connect government health organizations and UN health agencies with developers that can help them use Messenger most effectively to share timely and accurate information, and speed up their responses to concerned citizens," Facebook wrote in the blog post.

Facebook said that its developers will work without any additional charges to help with things like automating responses to commonly asked questions and show these organizations how to share updates with their audience in the most effective manner. They will also teach these organisations how to seamlessly transition from automated conversations to chatting with a person in real-time when necessary.

In addition to that the company is also "making it possible for government health organisations and UN health agencies to send important updates related to COVID-19 to people messaging them."

Lastly, the company is partnering with hackathon provider Devpost for inviting developers to participate in an online hackathon to build messaging solutions that address COVID-19 issues on Messenger. " Winners will get mentoring from Facebook engineers to help make these solutions a reality. They'll also receive invitations to attend F8 2021, including flights and accommodations, and will be given the opportunity to participate in the F8 hackathon," the company added.

Separately, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has announced that his company would be donating 720,000 masks to health-care workers who are tackling the coronavirus outbreak. "To help, Facebook donated our emergency reserve of 720,000 masks that we had bought in case the wildfires continued," Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post.

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First Published Date: 24 Mar, 12:32 PM IST
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