Trump may have Twitter, but his protesters are fighting back with text bots.
A group of techies have launched a platform that converts users’ text messages into letters faxed directly to their lawmakers’ offices. The volunteer-led platform, Resistbot, launched this week after founders said they were frustrated with jammed congressional phone lines and obstacles to contacting their representatives.
Social media and smart phones have proven a boon to anti-Trump marches and protests across the country.
Grassroots groups, like Indivisible Guide, which started as a Google Doc, have encouraged organizers to use technology to attract supporters, set up events and communicate with lawmakers.
Resistbot is a way to send a personalized message that is more likely than a lengthy form letter to get the attention of congressional staffers, Jason Putorti, co-creator of Resistbot, told Bloomberg BNA.
“We're ultimately looking for the intersection of ease for the user and effectiveness in lobbying Congress,” Putorti said. “Over time, we'd like civic engagement to be as much of a habit as reading the news, and it's not anywhere near that today.”
Users type the word “RESIST” in a text message to 50409, and are prompted to enter their zip code and name.
Constituents then type a message that is formatted and faxed to their corresponding senators. Over time, the bot will ask the user more questions to understand issues they care about and channel letters to other representatives.
The bot will also prompt users when it thinks they may be interested in pressuring their representatives on an upcoming vote or debate that resists the Trump administration’s agenda, Putorti said.
So even though anyone can use Resistbot to deliver any message to their lawmakers, the platform is geared toward those voicing stances against Trump and his supporters in Congress, he said.
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