In January 2017, the youth-oriented content network funk started publishing news via the Facebook Messenger chatbot ‘Novi’.
Next to daily updates on recent developments, the bot also delivers in-depth background stories on current affairs, all supported by additional images, videos and GIFs. The chatbot was developed by German pubcaster NDR and the news magazine “Tagesschau” and is currently still in beta testing.
Subscribers to ‘Novi’ on Facebook Messenger get the latest stories in a conversational format twice a day – brief news in the morning and more detailed information in the evening. To request current news, users can interact via the bot’s chat interface by tapping various conversation prompts such as ‘Next’ for jumping to the next topic or ‘More’ to be linked to a background report on an affiliated website. If there are no current news from the ‘Novi’ editorial team, users are being presented with an overview of stories at tagesschau.de. Moreover, users have the option to search tagesschau.de’s online archive for specific topics by simply messaging a key word.
Messaging the word ‘eklärt’ (explained) provides access to so called ‘#novieerklärt-Geschichten’ (Novi Explains Stories). Complex topics or stories such as the Islamic State or Brexit are broken down to their basic parts to make them more transparent and easy to understand. A menu in the lower left of the interface lets users easily access all of the bot’s features – the daily news, the background stories, and the search function. Push notifications for the daily news can also be either activated or deactivated.
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