As protests continue to spring up around the country — and the world — in response to President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric, keeping track of local demonstrations can be hard.
But a new chatbot is here to do some of the legwork for you. WeBot, which launched Wednesday, is a Facebook Messenger bot that lets you easily find protests in your city — no scrambling or tedious searching required.
Facebook users can message WeBot and click “Get Started.” It will ask you for your location, and you can either choose “Share Your Location” or type in your city manually. WeBot then culls anti-Trump Facebook events in your area and matches you with nearby protests, letting you view and join the events, and share them on your own timeline.
The bot will also alert you when new protests pop up. In addition, the creators are teaming up with those people and groups to stay informed about what information is available to be pulled in.
“After the Muslim ban took effect, people’s outrage led them to unify in the streets,” said Logan Bernard, cofounder of WeBot.
“We saw this firsthand in NYC, and wanted to keep this rush of unifying energy going. We felt we could contribute by creating a bot that helps people get organized,” he said.
Bernard created the bot with his brother, Nathan, in collaboration with growth accelerator Flatiron Collective. This isn’t the first time the programmer brothers, who are based in Brooklyn, have created a social media bot in response the new administration. The pair gained attention last fall after they built a Twitter bot that let them post the first replies to Donald Trump’s tweets — prime real estate to redirect conversations away from the alt-right and white supremacist comments that often litter his replies.
But for WeBot and informing people of protests, Facebook was the obvious medium of choice, since so many protests and marches form around Facebook events.
WeBot joins a growing number of new tools and websites to help people organize in Trump’s America. While it’s still in early stages, it could prove incredibly useful for new activists looking for ways to get involved.
As for next steps, the Bernard brothers want to continue connecting with as many people and groups organizing protests as possible, to help improve the tool and have a lasting impact.
“Together we can work to raise awareness of their events and bring more people together,” Bernard said.