Facebook adds feature to find blood donors nearby in an emergency

People often turn to Facebook in an emergency to seek blood donors. But it’s hard for the post to reach people outside one’s network. Now, Facebook has come up with a new feature in India to vastly increase the chances of finding donors.

Willing donors can register for the service and be notified when somebody requires blood in an emergency nearby. People who need the donations will be connected with donors who respond.

People are always willing to help, they just need the tools and information to do so.

“The idea for this feature came out of a hackathon, and Hema Budaraju, one of our product managers, helped make it a reality,” says Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in a post announcing the feature. “This issue is personal to Hema, whose father was diagnosed with cancer five years ago and lost so much blood during chemotherapy that he had to have a transfusion every day for a week. Hema had to reach out to friends and family to ask for donors and many people showed up once they realized it would help her dad. This is a constant reminder for Hema that people are always willing to help, they just need the tools and information to do so.”

October 1 is India’s National Blood Donation Day and Facebook will start prompting users to sign up as blood donors. They can add a ‘blood donor’ tag to their profiles.

Zuckerberg says it addresses a need that’s been observed on Facebook. “Every week across India, there are thousands of posts from people seeking blood donations. Like many countries, India doesn’t always have enough donors to provide everyone with reliable access to safe blood.”

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