Facebook Messenger’s Chatbot will share COVID-19 information: Here’s how it works

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi |

Published: March 27, 2020 4:25:44 pm

After WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger has added a dedicated coronavirus Chatbot in partnership with the Ministry of Health.

Facebook Messenger is getting a dedicated chatbot to provide users with authentic information around the coronavirus (COVID-19). Facebook-owned WhatsApp messenger already has a similar chatbot on its platform. Facebook has partnered with the Ministry of Health and MyGov to create this chatbot.

“In these difficult times, people are using our family of apps more than ever to stay connected with friends, family and communities. We are grateful for the opportunity to support the government across ministries with communications tools and resources to share timely, accurate information on the Corona Virus to keep people safe and informed. We will continue to do everything we can to help the country’s efforts,” Ajit Mohan, Vice President and Managing Director of Facebook India said in a statement.

Facebook says the chatbot has both English and Hindi language capabilities. Users can ask questions and will get verified information in the form of videos, infographic or text.  So what does this COVID-19 chatbot offer from Facebook Messenger? Here’s a quick look.

Coronavirus pandemic: We checked out the WhatsApp chatbots by WHO and Indian government

How can I access this Facebook Chatbot for COVID-19?

Users can go to their Facebook Messenger app or open Facebook Messenger on desktop and search for the MyGov Corona Hub. The direct link for the chatbox is this: https://www.messenger.com/t/MyGovIndia. Once they open the chatbot, they have to tap on Get Started.

Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Messenger chatbot, Coronavirus chatbot, COVID Chatbot, FB COVID chatbot, Coronavirus chatbot FB The Facebook Messenger chatbot also works in Hindi.

The chatbot will first ask the user what language they prefer. The options range are Hindi or English.  When you first start interacting with the chatbot, it has this message: “This is the Government of India’s Corona Helpdesk to create awareness and help you and your family stay safe. For any emergency, please contact 011-23978046 or Toll-Free Number: 1075 or Email: [email protected]” Below this are a number of options to choose from on what kind of information you need around the coronavirus.

Read more: From Kerala, a robot to take care of coronavirus patients | Cold, flu or Covid-19? This AI-enabled risk assessment tool can help you differentiate

Facebook Chatbot for COVID-19:  What are the questions you can ask?

The chatbot has a number of options for queries, which are pre-decided. The options range from the latest update on the coronavirus in India, where to get help, State level status (including state chatbots), useful alerts, Professional Advice by doctors, and finally Information on coronavirus, symptoms and how to reduce risk. You can tap on the explore option below each of these to get more details.

Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Messenger chatbot, Coronavirus chatbot, COVID Chatbot, FB COVID chatbot, Coronavirus chatbot FB The Facebook Messenger Chatbot for coronavirus also includes links to YouTube videos with doctors.

For instances when we tapped on ‘Where to get help’, the chatbot lists out details of the 24*7 Control Room, along with the phone number which is +91-11-23978046) and toll free number, which is 1075. There’s also a link to share the information on WhatsApp. For state helplines, a link to the document is given. There are also details for queries for persons from India with information about the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

If you search for Professional Advice from doctors, it will show a number of YouTub videos, which the Ministry has created.

The chatbot also shows infographics which are myth-busters. In the information section for coronavirus, the chatbot told gives this information.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causes illness in people. Its symptoms in humans are
🤒 Fever
😐 Breathing problem
🤧 Coughing
😫 Tightness of chest
👃 Running Nose
😨 Headache
🌡 Feeling unwell
😷 Pneumonia
💉 Kidney Failure

It can be difficult to identify the disease based on symptoms alone. Check when you should get tested 👇

The Facebook Messenger chatbot also gives links to the chatbots on Telegram, WhatsApp. For those who are confused about the coronavirus and are searching for some way to get authentic information, these chatbots are a useful tool to get the details. The only limitation right now is that the language is restricted to Hindi and English.

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