In celebration of Black History Month, Twitter announced a new chatbot. Called Blackbirds, Twitter users who send the chatbot a direct message to the @blackbirds account will have the opportunity to chat with the program and learn more about Black history and community events.
Blackbirds currently has four different categories including #BlackHistory, #ForTheCulture, #SelfCare, and #FortheCause. For example, #BlackHistory will share little-known facts about African Americans. Also, #ForTheCause will point out events that are supporting the black community in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
— Blackbirds (@blackbirds) July 8, 2016
In an interview with Mashable, Twitter’s brand planner for the company’s Brand Strategy Team explained, “Twitter as a whole, and black people on Twitter specifically, influence mainstream conversation in really significant ways — from #BlackLivesMatter and #OscarsSoWhite to #ThanksgivingWithBlackFamilies. We want to use our channel to recognize that.”
Twitter’s new chatbot comes after the company came under scrutiny for the lack of diversity within the corporation. In 2015, a report revealed that only 3% of the company’s employees were either black or Latino. Also, the star of the Ghostbusters remake quit the social network after being accounts insulted her online comparing her to monkeys and calling her racial epithets.
African Americans and Twitter
But, this Black History chat bot move shows the company is paying attention to a huge demographic interacting on the social network. A Pew Research study found 22% of all African Americans online use Twitter, which is 6% higher than their white counterparts. In fact, younger African Americans spend a lot of time on Twitter. The study found 2 out of 5 African-Americans between the ages of 18 to 29 said they use the social network. Meanwhile, only 28% of young whites report using Twitter.
It was President Gerald Ford who told the American people to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” It appears as though Twitter is doing just that.