In November 2017, Facebook held its second annual Social Good Forum in New York. The Forum came amid criticism over fake news stories spreading on its platform during a number of elections last year. Facebook has made an effort to chip away at that public image, pointing out that it helps people connect from around the world with features like Safety Check. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced even more new tools and initiatives to help make communities feel “safe and supported.”
Here are the top takeaways from those new tools.
1. Mentorship and Support
The mentorship tool lets users find mentors in a given field or sign up to help nurture young minds. They are starting a pilot with iMentor (for education) and the International Rescue Committee (for crisis recovery) to help connect people around a variety of causes like addiction recovery, and career advancement. "Facebook has mostly focused on helping us connect with people we already know. But I think it may be just as important to help us connect with people outside our social circle," Zuckerberg said. The mentorship tool will be available only for users 18 years and older.
2. Charitable giving tools expansion
Facebook has made some major changes to their fundraising tools. Its Nonprofit fundraising tools (including donate buttons and nonprofit fundraisers), which allow people to raise money for non-profit organizations, have been newly introduced across much of Europe. Facebook has also eliminated its nonprofit fees, meaning that 100 percent of donations made through Facebook payments to nonprofits will now go directly to those organizations.
3. New Fundraisers API
Facebook’s new API allows users to sync their off-Facebook fundraising efforts to Facebook fundraisers, making it easier to share the causes they support with their communities. Facebook says that connecting fundraising to the platform can help users meet their goals faster. They are trailing the new system with Susan G. Komen, JDRF, National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Movember, and will be rolling it out to 500 additional nonprofits by the end of spring 2018.
4. New Community Help API
Last year, Facebook announced Community Help, a crisis response tool where people can ask for and give the help they need to recover following a crisis. Facebook has now introduced a Community Help API, which will give disaster response organizations access to data from public Community Help posts that can offer important information about the needs of people affected by a particular crisis. Facebook will be piloting the Community Help API with NetHope and the American Red Cross.
5. Expanding Blood Donations Feature
In October 2017, Facebook launched a new blood donations feature, starting in India, to make it easier for people to donate blood. There are now more than 4 million blood donors signed up on Facebook in India. Hospitals, blood banks and nonprofits can also create voluntary blood donation events on Facebook, and nearby donors are notified of the opportunities. Early this year, they will expand blood donations to Bangladesh, where there are thousands of posts from people looking for donors every week.
Mae Dobbs is a social strategist, Corporate Reputation, London.