Facebook isn't just a great resource for wasting time. It can actually be used for good, you know. Now the social network is taking on one of the biggest contemporary global panics: Ebola.
The company launched a new campaign today, Nov. 6, to encourage its 1.35 billion monthly active users to help fight Ebola. The three-part initiative is intended to help provide additional support to those affected by the disease.
Perhaps most essential to the campaign is a new donation button that Facebook will add to the top of users' News Feeds over the next week. Users will have the option of donating to three different non-profit organizations fighting the virus in West Africa, International Medical Corps, the Red Cross and Save the Children. The donations will be collected through Facebook's Donate feature, and they will be sent directly to the organizations.
Facebook's new initiative also includes a health education feature that sends messages from UNICEF about Ebola symptoms and treatment to users in affected and neighboring regions. The company will also donate 100 mobile satellite communication terminals to be used in remote areas of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone so that medical and aid workers have access to voice and data services for all of their communication needs.
Though the panic surrounding Ebola has seemed to die down in the U.S. over the past couple of weeks, it's still a major worldwide concern. There are currently more than 13,000 confirmed cases of the virus in six affected countries of the world, which includes Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Spain and the United States.
Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg has been very adamant about helping in the fight against Ebola. He and his wife Priscilla Chan donated $25 million last month to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control foundation to aid in the relief efforts for the disease.
It seems that technology can actually make a huge difference in stamping out Ebola. The World Health Organization recently reported on the government of Senegal's SMS campaign to raise awareness about Ebola, which helped prevent the spread of the disease from its one confirmed case in late August.
With the enormity of Facebook's user base, it's likely that the social network will be able to raise beaucoup bucks from this campaign for this important cause. The point of social media is to connect people all over the world, and if that sometimes includes saving some lives, I think we're all be on board with that. Plus, with all of the News Feed manipulation Facebook seems to do, it's nice to see that it can actually be used for good once in a while.