Facebook today announced that it will soon launch tools to connect blood donors with individuals and organizations in need in India.
“We have worked together with nonprofit organizations, health industry experts, potential donors, and people who have used Facebook to find blood donors to ensure that what we are designing will be useful to people in India,” Facebook product manager Hema Budaraju and head of South Asia programs Ritesh Mehta said in a blog post. “The person who needs blood won’t be able to see any information about the donor, unless the donor explicitly provides it when he/she reaches out to the person in need of blood.”
This is the first time Facebook has created tools to facilitate connections between users and blood banks to address shortages, a source familiar with the matter told VentureBeat.
Beginning Oct. 1, National Blood Donation Day in India, Facebook users in India will be able to volunteer to become a blood donor via Facebook.
In the weeks following National Blood Day, hospitals, blood banks, and individuals in need of blood in India will be able to use Facebook to send an alert about a shortage. This message could include information like the name, location, and story of the person in need, as well as the required blood type.
Nearby blood donors will see a notification pop up in their News Feed. Donors can then respond to requests to give blood via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or a phone call.
Donor information will be set to private, only visible by the donor, though donor status can be shared on their timeline or with a person or organization in need, if the donor chooses to do so.
The initiative will begin on the mobile web and phones using the Android operating system.
We’ve asked a Facebook spokesperson whether this feature could be expanded to other countries in the future but have not received a response. We will update here if we hear back.