The Washington Post is furthering its experimentation on Viber, a messaging app used by more than one billion people worldwide, by introducing a chatbot and a second collection of journalism-themed stickers. The Post’s global news bot is the first to appear on Viber and will be available to all users.
“We’ve seen great potential to grow our audience internationally by allowing readers to access Post journalism on widely-used messaging apps like Viber, where they spend most of their time.” said Ryan Kellett, senior director of audience for The Post. “With the platform’s massive global user base, we’ll continue to create interesting and fun ways to engage on this platform.”
The Post has built a chatbot that automatically sends users the top headlines from five different news sections--Politics, National, World, Opinions, and Entertainment—directly within the app. Users can opt to receive news updates either daily or weekly. They can also receive additional updates from their sections of interest by simply tapping on that section’s icon. The feature includes a dashboard with options for users to subscribe to The Post, watch original video content, and invite friends to sign up for the chatbot. The chatbot can be accessed on Viber by clicking here
The new sticker pack includes colorful text of journalism catchphrases like “off the record,” and Washington Post-inspired graphics such as the Pinocchio illustrations from the popular Fact Checker blog. Users can download the pack for free on Viber’s sticker market, and will automatically begin receiving news updates from the bot. By clicking on the stickers, users will be directed to page on which they can subscribe to The Washington Post.
The Post debuted the first catalog of stickers on the platform in 2016 to help users visually enhance their messages on the app with news-related images. Since then, the pack has been downloaded more than two million times. Stickers are one of the most popular features on the app. According to Viber, over 300,000 stickers are shared on the app each minute.
“Giving our global audience access to quality, independent journalism is of huge importance to us,” said Sally Burtt-Jones, Business Development Director for Viber. “We’re proud to work with The Washington Post to create a bot that allows users to easily find, discover and personalise their news experience and receive the top daily or weekly news stories within their favourite app.”
The introduction of these features builds upon The Post’s innovation on other messaging apps. In 2017, The Post invited people to interact with Berlin-based reporter Rick Noack via Whatsapp as he covered the German elections and later, the future of the European Union.
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