Viber launches bot to poll its 800 million users on US elections
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Viber launches bot to poll its 800 million users on US elections

Company hopes to add to political discussion by bringing polling to social messaging applications

Luke Tress is a video journalist and tech reporter for the Times of Israel

This combination of images shows Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in Roanoke, Virginia, September 24, 2016 and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in Orlando, Florida,  September 21, 2016. (AFP/DESK)
This combination of images shows Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in Roanoke, Virginia, September 24, 2016 and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in Orlando, Florida, September 21, 2016. (AFP/DESK)

Viber, an Israeli-founded video and voice communications app with 800 million worldwide users, is launching a global election polling bot to take stock of international attitudes on the US presidential candidates.

The bot is the first of its kind, the company said, and could reveal important data by bringing polling to social messaging apps. The company concedes that the survey will not employ scientific methodology like more formal polls, however.

Users first choose who they would vote for in the election. Their options are: 1. Hillary Rodham Clinton, 2. Donald John Trump, and 3. I DON’T CARE. Third-party candidates like Gary Johnson are not listed. The bot then asks users their gender, their age range, and whether they use Android or iOS.

The company plans to analyze the data and release the findings at a later date.

Viber's global election poll will take stock of international attitudes on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump by messaging the company's 800 million users. (Courtesy)
Viber’s global election poll (Courtesy)

“We hope this brand new method of polling will reveal new worldwide trends and will encourage new involvement of social platforms in political dialogue,” said Viber COO Michael Shmilov.

Viber was founded in Israel in 2010 and acquired by Japanese internet services company Rakuten for $900 million in 2014. The app offers users voice and video calls, text messaging, games and group chats.

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