Face­book boosts ef­forts to do good with new tools

Kuwait Times - - TECHNOLOGY -

NEW YORK: Face­book is of­fer­ing new tools for char­ity fundrais­ing, for mark­ing your­self safe dur­ing a cri­sis and for help­ing others or ask­ing for help - af­ter a nat­u­ral dis­as­ter.

The so­cial net­work made the an­nounce­ments Thurs­day in New York at its So­cial Good Fo­rum, a first-of-its-kind event it hopes to re­peat in com­ing years. The com­pany has dozens of engi­neers who work on its rel­a­tively new “so­cial good” team cre­at­ing tools for users to help their friends or the world around them.

“The phi­los­o­phy of ev­ery­thing we do at Face­book is that our com­mu­nity can teach us what we need to do,” CEO Mark Zucker­berg said in a video played at the event. “And our job is to learn as quickly as we can and keep on get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter.”


A tool called “safety check” lets Face­book users mark them­selves safe dur­ing a cri­sis, whether that’s a nat­u­ral dis­as­ter, bomb­ing or some­thing else. Once some­one marks them­selves safe, their friends are au­to­mat­i­cally no­ti­fied that they have been ac­counted for.

At first, Face­book ac­ti­vated the tool in ar­eas where dis­as­ter struck. Now, Face­book says it will stop its own ac­ti­va­tions, hand­ing it off to users in­stead. How? When a lot of peo­ple are post­ing about an in­ci­dent (stuff like “was that an earth­quake?”), they might get a no­ti­fi­ca­tion to let friends know they are OK, us­ing safety check. If they do, they can in­vite other friends to do the same, and so on.


Be­gin­ning early next year, a tool called “com­mu­nity help” will let users of­fer and re­ceive shel­ter, food or other types of help dur­ing crises. Peo­ple have al­ready been do­ing this on Face­book and Twit­ter, us­ing hash­tags such as #PorteOu­verte (open door) af­ter last year’s at­tacks in Paris that left 130 peo­ple dead.

But it was of­ten dif­fi­cult to pair up. The new fea­ture aims to stream­line this. Peo­ple will be able to select cat­e­gories to get or of­fer help with, such as food and wa­ter, trans­porta­tion, baby items or shel­ter. Once they do, they can use Face­book Mes­sen­ger to ar­range the de­tails.


Face­book started let­ting char­i­ties raise money di­rectly through its plat­form over the sum­mer.

At the time, users could choose from 100 US non­prof­its. Now, that num­ber is 750,000 and grow­ing. Peo­ple can also add do­na­tion but­tons to their Face­book Live videos to raise money - but only for ac­tual char­i­ties, not a dream va­ca­tion.

PHILADEL­PHIA: In this May 16, 2012, file photo, the Face­book logo is dis­played on an iPad in Philadel­phia. Face­book is un­der fire for fail­ing to rein in fake and bi­ased news sto­ries that some be­lieve may have swayed the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

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