Facebook is opening up its Messenger app to health organizations in order to keep people abreast of vital information about the coronavirus pandemic.
In a blog post on Monday, Facebook said it’s extending its developer resources to governments so that they can develop apps and bots that are capable of notifying people when there’s a relevant update.
‘We’re partnering with our developer community to provide free services to government health organizations and UN health agencies to help them use Messenger to scale their response to the COVID-19 crisis,’ said the company in a statement.
Facebook is opening up its Messenger app to health authorities to help disseminate important information on novel coronavirus COVID-19
Among the governments to already begin taking advantage of the program is Argentina’s Ministry of Health, which is using Botmaker.com to build an app that can ‘answer questions from the public about coronavirus and … provide fast, reliable and official advice 24 hours a day.’
Both UNICEF and Pakistan’s Ministry of Health are also using Messenger to share information according to Facebook.
‘The Messenger experience allows [us to] support and serve citizens seeking up to date information on the coronavirus, while keeping our helpline open for more critical cases,’ a spokesperson for Pakistan’s minister of health said in a statement.
To help increase the amount of solutions available, Facebook is also creating a ‘hackathon’ where developers invent solutions that disseminate educational information or even help connect people during social-distancing.
Similarly, Facebook has used its popular messaging app WhatsApp to help spread vital information during an ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Specifically, the ‘WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub’ marries the Facebook-owned company partner with the WHO and UNICEF to provide reliable information to users.
It claims the service provides ‘simple, actionable guidance’ for various people most affected by the ongoing crisis.
This includes health workers, educators, community leaders, nonprofits, local governments and businesses.