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New chatbot to make Facebook friendly for the visually impaired

Aug 20. 2019
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By Jirapan Boonnoon
The Nation

Facebook Thailand is partnering up with local organisations like Read for the Blind and Help Us Read as well as chatbot creators Hbot help give visually impaired people in Thailand better access to social media.

Manaschuen Kovapirat, Facebook Thailand’s communications manager, said that most of the over 700,000 visually impaired people in Thailand lack support or access to communication tools. Hence, Facebook has joined up with Read for the Blind to create a Facebook page that provides tutorials on creating audio books and gives volunteers a chance to join the cause. 

“Our aim is to ensure that visually impaired people can manage their Facebook page and engage easily with volunteers,” Manaschuen said. 

Cholathip Yimyong, co-founder of Read of the Blind and Help Us Read, who also manages related Facebook pages, said the visually impaired often struggle to find the basic help they need each day, adding that the new bot, Ready, which is available through Facebook Messenger, will help them connect effectively. This new bot also cuts down on manual input and boosts volunteer engagement. 

Natwut Amornvivat, co-founder of Read for the Blind and Help Us Read, said Facebook is helping establish a sense of commitment and support for the visually impaired in Thailand.

Currently, the Read for the Blind Facebook page has more than 187,000 members and the newly created bot for messenger helps Facebook find more volunteers who want to help out. 

Chayanith Srinark, CEO of HBOT, said as a solutions partner, he believes all businesses should have access to technology that can help them leapfrog their current benchmarks.

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