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A simple python chatbot for Facebook Messenger.

The bot reads incoming Facebook Messenger messages, and responds by generating random text from a corpus. The length of the response is randomly selected around the length of the incoming message, and a random word from the incoming message is selected as the starting word of the response.

Installing dependencies

Use of virtualenv is highly recommended, especially since the old version of nltk used requires an old version of setuptools.

$ pip install -r requirements.txt

Setting up a Facebook app for Facebook messenger

  • You're going to need a publicly routed https address. I used ngrok to create a tunnel to my local development machine.
  • The server will need to be started for you to verify the webhook. See "Starting the server" below.
  • Follow the instructions provided in the Facebook quickstart tutorial for creating a page and an app.
  • Set the VERIFY_TOKEN and FACEBOOK_TOKEN environment variables to the values you get from following the tutorial.

Building a corpus

Before you start the server, there has to be a file called corpus.txt in the root directory. This can be any text, but I found it interesting to use all of my sent emails as the corpus.

If you have your emails in mbox format (you can get them from Gmail using Google Takeout), you can use the provided to build a corpus.

$ python emails.mbox ...

This will grab the text from all emails from the specified addresses (it tries to not include text responded to, signatures and so on), and create a corpus from it.

Starting the server

Is just a matter of

$ python


  • A big corpus takes a loooong time to load
  • Tests
  • Send structured messages
  • Handle postbacks


A simple python chatbot for Facebook messenger







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