Facebook has become a very powerful community organizing tool.
This means that it has a unique opportunity, or even responsibility, to provide tools for doing good.
On November 17th, Facebook held its first Social Good Forum, where it announced a number of updates and new tools.
According to Mark Zuckerberg, the website’s goals are threefold: to help prevent bad things from happening, to facilitate communication when something bad is in the process of happening, and to enable helpful responses after something bad has happened.
Updated Safety Check
Facebook’s first update is a change to Safety Check, an existing tool that Facebook members can use to let family and friends know that they’re safe during a crisis, or to check in on friends.
In the past, Facebook has been criticized for how it chooses when to turn on Safety Check. Now, Safety Check will be triggered by community members rather than through an executive decision by Facebook.
When a lot of people start posting about a local incident, they “may be asked if they’re safe.” After marking themselves safe, users can invite their friends to do so as well. It isn’t clear exactly what threshold will trigger the option to check in.
A new feature called Community Help will be linked to Facebook’s Safety Check. In the event of a natural disaster, Facebook will create a page where local people can find and offer help.
The goal is for Community Help to act as a community message board where people can find or provide food, water, transportation, shelter, clothing, and other supplies.
Facebook began testing a fundraising tool for a small group of nonprofits in June. Now, they are expanding the fundraising option to over 750,000 nonprofits. These organizations can raise funds on Facebook and will be able to add a donate button to their Live videos.
These options won’t be available for all users, so don’t plan on crowdsourcing your upcoming savings goal. They will, however, enable many charities to raise money right where their supporters already are.
Written by content manager Meghan Woolley
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