Facebook kicked off its inaugural Social Good Forum in New York on Thursday by introducing a range of fundraising and community safety updates.
First up, the company announced it is handing over its Safety Check tool to its global user base, which is just as well considering Facebook’s selective activation of the feature has previously been met with criticism.
Launched in 2014, Safety Check allows users to alert their network that they are safe during an emergency. Starting today, an algorithm will trigger the tool when a particular incident starts trending on Facebook. People in the vicinity of the emergency will be asked if they’re safe, and prompted to invite their friends to do the same.
In addition to Safety Check, Facebook is also launching a new Community Help feature early next year. The tool essentially allows users affected by a crisis (such as a natural disaster) to connect with other people offering support through shelter, transport food, equipment and baby items. Once someone checks in as safe, they can either offer or search for help using the new feature.
Keeping things charitable, Facebook also announced it is expanding its Fundraisers tool (which lets people raise money for select nonprofits). The company claims users can now add a donate button to their Facebook Live broadcasts. It’s easy to see the new feature coming in handy for viral charity challenges (in the vein of the ALS Ice Bucket challenge that took the internet by storm in 2014), allowing people to live-stream their antics and watch the donations roll in. A total of 750,000 nonprofits are now included in the Fundraisers tool.
Additionally, Facebook is partnering with the Movember Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In honor of Giving Tuesday, the latter will provide $500,000 in matching funds, up to $1,000 per Facebook fundraiser. Facebook will also waive up to $500,000 of fees on all donations.
“Facebook has always been about building community and relationships,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a video. “We’re going to keep finding new ways to empower our community through technology and services in a way that’s effective.”
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