MEDIA CONTACTS:
Eric Rayvid: 917-861-8290 or ericr@bestfriends.org

Best Friends Animal Society Enlists Microsoft’s Social Bot, Zo, To Help Find Felines Friends & Homes on Black Cat Day

Best Friends’ first ever social Artificial Intelligence campaign will engage millennials in helping homeless pets

Kanab, UTIn honor of Black Cat Day on November 17, Best Friends Animal Society is spreading the word via Zo, Microsoft’s social chatbot, to inspire people to help homeless felines. Starting on November 9, Zo will share photos and information on black cats available for adoption through Best Friends Animal Society with her userbase on Facebook Messenger (m.me/Zo), Kik (kik.me/zo.ai), and GroupMe (contact: Zo).

As part of the feature and outreach, Zo will ask her friends to help her pick which cats she should sponsor. She’ll also encourage those friends to share images and information on Best Friends across their social channels to drive more adoptions.

“Best Friends is always looking for ways to innovate the adoption process and inform people about the many ways they can help homeless pets,” said Sue Citro, Chief Digital Officer for Best Friends Animal Society. “By working with Microsoft and Zo, we can do just that in a really cool, groundbreaking way.”

Zo is part of Microsoft’s social bot family, which has over 100M users in 5 countries on 14 platforms. She recognizes and responds in real-time to text, photos, and voice.

This platform could help Best Friends, the only national animal welfare organization dedicated to ending the killing of shelter pets in America, engage those users to help reach its goal of making the country No Kill by 2025.

“Conversational AI technologies, like Zo, enable more human conversations that meet users where they are on many of the most popular chat platforms. Partnering with Best Friends Animal Society allows Microsoft to further develop Zo’s social presence and empathy intelligence, while also helping cats find permanent homes,” said Ying Wang, Director of Zo.ai

About Best Friends Animal Society

Best Friends Animal Society is a leading national animal welfare organization dedicated to ending the killing of dogs and cats in America's shelters. In addition to running lifesaving programs in partnership with more than 1,900 animal welfare groups across the country, Best Friends has regional centers in New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Salt Lake City, and operates the nation's largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals. Founded in 1984, Best Friends has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters nationwide from 17 million per year to about two million. Determined to get that number to zero by the year 2025, Best Friends and its nationwide network of members and partners are working to Save Them All®.

To become a fan of Best Friends on Facebook, go to Facebook.com/bestfriendsanimalsociety. Follow Best Friends on Twitter (@BestFriends) and Instagram (@BestFriendsAnimalSociety)