KEY POINTS

  • Facebook has launched two global programs tha will allow health agencies to spread information about COVID-19
  • The program will connect Messenger's developer community to health agencies to use the app as a platform to share "timely and accurate information" about COVID-19
  • Dev partners will help through automated responses and will aid agencies on how to effectively share updates
  • Facebook also organized a hackathon that will encourage participants to build global and local solutions on COVID-19

Facebook has launched two initiatives through its online social messaging app, Messenger, that will allow government health organizations and the United Nations to share important information regarding COVID-19.

In a blog written by Vice President of Messenger Stan Chudnovsky, the global program will connect Messenger's developer community with various health-based organizations and UN health agencies to use the app as a platform to “share timely and accurate information” as well as to “speed up their responses to concerned citizens” as the world face one of the worst pandemics in history.

“Our mission to help people connect and be close together is more important than ever, and it's critical we provide with full access to the latest and most reliable information,” Chudnovsky said.

facebook messenger Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduces a new messenger platform at the F8 summit in San Francisco on March 25, 2015. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

In addition, Messenger's developer partners have offered their services for free. Among others, they will help these organizations through automated responses to commonly asked questions while at the same time, educate organizations on how to effectively share updates to their audience.

Argentina's Health Ministry was the first to launch a Messenger experience. With the help of Botmaker.com, the partnership will create an app that can “answer questions from the public about coronavirus, and to provide fast, reliable and official advice 24 hours a day.”

UNICEF and the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination of Pakistan are likewise using Messenger to convey the latest COVID-19 information to its constituents.

In addition, Facebook is also organizing a hackathon via Devpost to create messaging solutions that centers on various COVID-19 issues like social distancing.

“Participants will be encouraged to build both global and local solutions and will receive unique access to Messenger-related content,” the blog added.

Winners of the hackathon will get mentoring from Facebook engineers “to help make these solutions a reality.” They will also be invited to F8 2021 and will have a chance to take part in the F8 hackathon.