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Want to build a Messenger bot like President Obama's? Now you can

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Obama Tweeting

The White House has open-sourced the code for its Facebook Messenger bot that's been receiving messages sent by the public to President Obama.

Back in August, The White House made it possible, essentially, for anyone to send a message to President Obama via Facebook Messenger but unsurprisingly, he doesn't get to see or respond to all of them. He does, apparently, read 10 of the messages he receives each day though.

To streamline the process of receiving millions of messages, The White House built a Messenger Bot using Drupal, and now it's made the source code for the whole project available on Github. The White House says that the choice of Drupal might seem counter-intuitive for a bot, but that it provides greater compatability for non-developers and use by other government departments.

"That’s why, today, we’re open-sourcing this White House technology, with the hope that other governments and developers can build similar services—and foster similar connections with their citizens— with significantly less upfront investment," Jason Goldman, Chief Digital Officer of The White House, said in an announcement.

The White House Bot

If you are planning to delve into the package on Github, you'll find the Drupal 8 module, instructions and some boiler plate code to get you started.

Whether or not other government departments, in the US and beyond, use it to better stay in touch with their constituents and serve their needs remains to be seen but it's certainly not the only government bot activity in the US this week. The campaign for presidential candidate Hilary Clinton launched a bot that responds to messages from users with quotes in the style of presidential rival Donald Trump. There's also an app that makes it easy for you to demand Trump deletes his Twitter account, should you feel it appropriate.

Related: Tell Donald Trump to delete his Twitter account with this new app

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Do you think Messenger bots are a waste of time for customer service and government feedback? Let us know in the comments below.

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