White House shuts phone comment line, promotes Facebook Messenger

IANSUpdated: Thursday, May 30, 2019, 09:43 AM IST
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New York: The White House is asking people to use Facebook Messenger to contact the new administration instead of using a now-shut down public comment line.

However, neither the White House nor the President Donald Trump seem to maintain an active Facebook Messenger account currently.  According to a report in Variety on Monday, the White House had long kept a public comment line, which in recent years had been staffed by volunteers of former President Barack Obama’s administration.

Also Read: Donald Trump’s White House reserves ‘right to disagree’

In addition, it also offered a number to reach the White House switchboard, where paid staffers would pick up the phone and take messages for the administration. Users on Twitter were first to report on Monday that the public comment line and White House switchboard had been disabled.

Callers are instead asked to use Facebook Messenger to get their message across.  It is unclear from the message if callers should use the official White House Facebook page or President Trump’s Facebook page to do so. Also, none of the two pages currently offers any messaging capabilities.

Also Read: Donald Trump to speak with Narendra Modi tonight

“Facebook has long offered businesses and other operators of Facebook pages the ability to directly communicate with their consumers through Messenger, including through messages sent directly from the Facebook website,” the report noted.

In April 2016, Facebook added the feature to use bots that can engage in simple conversations through Messenger. But it does not seem like the White House is currently using any of those technologies. There are currently number of Facebook accounts existing under the names that falsely relate them to the White House. In such scenario, it is rather difficult for people to message the right one.

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