When you have an emergency, every second counts when it comes to getting help. A newly developed Facebook Messenger-based chat robot claims to make it easier and faster for users to report accidents and injuries and get emergency assistance. But can using an app on a cellphone or computer to summon help in an emergency really be as quick and dependable as dialing 9-1-1 when time is of the essence?
The 911 Facebook Messenger robot is designed to handle a variety of emergency situations, from car accident injuries to shootings and violent crimes, providing valuable information to both you and law enforcement while you wait for help to arrive. Proponents of the 911 Bot claim it will make reporting a life-threatening situation as easy as opening your Facebook Messenger app, while detractors cite the advantages of direct interaction with trained, human emergency dispatchers as opposed to going on Facebook and relying on a robot in a time of need.
When it comes to looking at new ways to connect people with help, it makes sense to use Facebook to report 911 emergencies. According to DMR, an internet clearinghouse for information on digital trends, there are currently over 900 million users of Facebook Messenger, which started as a mobile application for Android and Smartphone users and has since grown to resemble its own social media platform. Messenger features include:
The service itself is free, but data charges apply if you are not connected Wi-Fi. DMR reports that more than one billion people have downloaded Messenger on Google Play, and while teens and young adults remain the primary users, more than 11 percent of older adults are using the app as well.
According to information website Vocativ, the 911 Bot was unveiled in early May 2016 claiming to be the only product of its type with the ability to save lives through the use of emergency reporting to Facebook. In the event of an emergency, the following steps should occur:
The ability to detect your location automatically could prove valuable where a victim is unable to speak or provide this information themselves.
According to Vocativ, the downside to the 911 Messenger Bot is that it is requires victims to go through a series of cumbersome steps using Facebook that could cost valuable seconds in an emergency, rather than just calling the operator themselves. 911 Bot also relies on an automated voice to inform local authorities of your location and emergency situation, something that does not sit well with some police and EMTs.
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