In search of the most innovative new bots on the Messenger Platform, Facebook launched the Bots for Messenger Challenge in 64 countries across the Middle East and Africa. Using the Messenger Platform developer resources found on the Facebook for Developers website, developers were invited to build new bots focused on three categories: (1) Gaming & Entertainment; (2) Productivity & Utility; and (3) Social Good.
With over 1000 submissions received, the judges were incredibly impressed by the breadth of bots received across the two regions. Charged with creativity and built thoughtfully with different functionalities, this group of bots is best positioned to bring the strongest impact and utility because they were localized for their intended users. Whether it be nuances in communication, the ability to establish local credibility and trust, or local solutions for payment transfers – local context matters when building sustainable services for communities.
After the bots were judged on their technical quality, non-technical quality, and user experience, 60 finalists were announced and paired with a Facebook mentor to iterate on the best versions of their bots over three weeks.
From the Middle East and North Africa region, congratulations to the 3 winning and 3 runner up bots.
Gaming & Entertainment
- Morocco: Trivoxx (winner) – Trivoxx is a trivia game to test a user’s knowledge on three categories: Sports, Science, and Cities. Users can share trivia games with friends and see their top scores against other players. Available in Arabic, French and English.
- Egypt: Mastermind Games Bot (runner up) – Mastermind Games Bot is a collection of five interactive games to solve codes based on various combinations of logic and memory. Every time a user guesses the correct code, a cave safe will open to obtain a diamond. Users can share games with their friends as they vie for the top scores.
Productivity and Utility
- Egypt: Mr. Ink (winner) – Mr. Ink is a book consultant bot where users can share a book title or a photo of a book cover, and Mr. Ink will return its description, author, rating, and reviews.
- Jordan: Eila (Heros Burgers & Wings) (runner up) – With Eila, customers can open up the restaurant’s Facebook page and order food to their homes or for priority pick up simply by chatting with their bot. Already live with five businesses, they offer a bot-as-a-service for conversational commerce. The goal is to grow these bots into a full pack of automated tools to help businesses sell with the help of artificial intelligence.
- Egypt: MathHook (winner) – MathHook brings math into everyone lives by helping users to solve complex math problems, to type problems in latex, and to search for math courses on YouTube across 3000 math videos. There’s also a chat function to connect users with teachers or other students to solve math problems. MathHook is also a student winner in this Challenge.
- Egypt: Adam (9 months) (runner up) – Adam equips pregnant women with updated information and lets users search for nearby pregnancy care, baby or maternal places. It also connects mothers in a safe community channel via a bot without the need to share personal data.
From the Sub-Saharan Africa region, congratulations to the 3 winning and 3 runner up bots.
Gaming & Entertainment
- Senegal: WoboT MWG (winner) – WoboT (Multilingual Words Games) is a gamified chatbot using famous games to test and increase a player’s vocabulary, and can be played alone or with remote friends. Currently offered in French and English, WOBOT has aspirations to grow into new languages starting with Spanish, German, and Arabic.
- Nigeria: Laide Bot (runner up) – Laide is an assistant to help buy airtime, order food, and buy movie and event tickets. For movies, users can view descriptions and trailers before buying tickets. For food, review menus and order food. All payments are currently handled by a PCI DSS (payment card industry data security standard) certified platform called Paystack. Laide is also a student winner in this Challenge.
Productivity and Utility
- Ethiopia: LangBot (winner) – LangBot is a gamified language learning service, where users earn points, badges, level up and compete to get on the leaderboard by learning. Subscribe to daily reminders, review words using a spaced repetition algorithm, translate sentences, and chat with a bot to practice any language. LangBot currently teaches French, but the chat extension can translate to and from 15 languages.
- Kenya: Bride.ly Buzz (runner up) – Bride.ly Buzz is a wedding planning bot that assists it users to successfully plan their wedding by providing them with various tools to make the planning process smooth, such as a calendar, 12 month checklist, bridal party management, vendor management, guest list management, wedding trends, and vendor suggestions.
- Kenya: MyTichaa (winner) – MyTichaa is a fun, digital tutor to help students revise for final exams by doing interactive quizzes. Verified teachers can submit and curate questions as well.
- Nigeria: Hyper-cv (runner up) – Hyper-cv allows users to create résumés quickly and effectively. A user can draw information from their social media account, Linkedin and Facebook, to quickly generate their résumé. Users can also manually edit a résumé. Once completed, résumés can be downloaded as pdf files to share.
Both receiving three months of Facebook mentorship, the winners have won $20,000 USD and the runner ups won $10,000.
Thanks to everyone who participated and supported this challenge! Best of luck to all the participating developers as they continue to build impactful services to their communities. Keep shipping! #messengerchallenge