Facebook is lending a hand to help solve India’s safe blood shortage. Its solution is to leverage its popular social network to put people in touch with blood donors. Starting in October, users in India will be able to sign up to become donors via their profile or by clicking on a designated promo message on the News Feed.
The tool will ask you to submit info, such as your blood type and whether you’ve donated blood before. Facebook promises to keep your details private, but you can choose to share a simple donor status with others on the timeline.
Going one step further, the company will also make it easier for donors to connect with institutions and individuals in need of blood. Pages and users alike will be able to share special posts in order to make requests. Facebook will then automatically notify nearby donors to get involved or help spread the word. After reviewing the post, donors will be able to respond to the request directly through WhatsApp, Messenger, or a phone call. Again, user info will be hidden from the person seeking blood, unless you choose to provide your details. The company seems to be aping Google’s mobile-first approach to the region, as the tool is only available on Android and the mobile web for now.
The feature falls in line with Facebook’s global safety efforts. And, like its “crisis response” assistance tool (which connects victims of disasters with locals offering aid), it adds a humanitarian element to its response mechanisms. Along with its Safety Check option — that lets users mark themselves as safe after a major local incident — they form part of the always-on crisis hub that serves its global community. Therefore, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if the blood donation tool gets integrated into the platform’s overarching safety system. And, if it proves effective, Facebook may even decide to roll it out elsewhere in the future.
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