Facebook has announced a number of tools and initiatives designed to help people build community and keep each other safe, including blood donation and suicide prevention initiatives and a $50 million annual matching fund in support of communities rebuilding after disaster. During its second annual Social Good Forum on Wednesday, the company also reported that $45 million had been donated by Facebook users on GivingTuesday via a recently launched fundraising application.
In the event's keynote address, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg detailed new and recent changes the company had or is planning to make, including the elimination of nonprofit fees on donations made through the platform, an announcement that elicited loud applause from the audience of mostly nonprofit officials. He also noted that while the new Facebook Donations Fund will match disaster-relief donations made through the platform, the company also is launching a fundraising API that will allow people to synchronize their real-world fundraisers with Facebook fundraisers, and a Community Help API; the latter, which gives disaster response organizations access to Community Help data, was beta-tested in the days after Hurricane Harvey and proved to be useful. The company also announced that it had expanded its charitable giving toolkit to allow people in Europe, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand to create fundraisers on its platform.
Prompted by a Facebook official whose father in India was in need of blood donations, the company also revealed the launch of a blood donations feature that has been used by more than four million Indians to sign up to give blood; the program will be expanded to Bangladesh in 2018, and, in all likelihood, will be expanded in the future to many of the other seventy-one countries that lack safe blood supplies.
The company, in partnership with iMentor and the International Rescue Committee, also announced the launch of a new product that allows mentors and mentees to connect and interact directly as the mentee works his/her way through a guided program tailored to his/her needs. And it shared details of a suicide prevention initiative that uses artificial intelligence as a "proactive detection" tool that alerts local first responder teams to users who, based on their posts, appear to be in personal distress. In the month since the initiative has been up and running, more than a hundred people have been prevented from doing themselves personal harm, the company said.