Twitter’s new bot offers Black History Month facts, GIFs, and events guide

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Twitter is launching its very own bot to mark the start of Black History Month. The @blackbirds bot, built by the platform’s employee resource group, provides everything from historical facts to info about local events in several U.S. cities.

Users can interact with the bot by starting a conversation with @blackbirds via direct message. The bot will immediately ask you to enter “home” in the message field. Next, a number of options will appear at the bottom of the display, each with a short description, relating to different topics. Tapping an option will result in the bot replying with a written message, GIF, tweet, or external link.

If you select “Today in #BlackHistory,” the bot will respond with a historical fact relating to a lesser-known black American event. Seeing as character restrictions don’t apply to DMs, these enlightening facts can go into detail.

The “#ForTheCause” option provides a link to a cultural event in cities including San Francisco, New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. Tap your chosen city and up will pop an Eventbrite link to a community event in the area.

There’s also #SelfCare, which offers wellness tips in the form of positive tweets from black American Twitter users; and #ForThe Culture, a GIF party, powered by GIPHY, celebrating black American cultural icons. Each option includes its very own emoji-activated hashtag, with Twitter also relaunching its #BlackHistoryMonth and #BHM emoji for users to add to tweets.

The @blackbirds bot was built using Twitter’s automated experiences tool, launched in November. The feature limits interactions to several requests — as a result the @blackbirds bot will not respond to any random messages you share with it. Instead, it will urge you to return “home” and choose from the list of actions. Until now, the tool has being marketed as a customer support communications channel for brands and businesses. The @blackbirds bot evidently proves that automated experiences can be used in insightful ways to extend the conversation on Twitter. It will be interesting to see if a wider variety of bots appear on the platform in the future.

As part of its Black History Month celebrations, Twitter will also be arranging employee-led events around the country.

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