Facebook is tapping into its community of more than 1 billion users to promote good around the world.
At the annual Social Good Summit held Sept. 27-28 in New York, Facebook manager Naomi Gleit announced that the social media giant has created a team dedicated to socially good causes.
The team is focused on building new Facebook products that nonprofits and other charitable organizations can use to educate supporters, increase advocacy and connect people with issues they care about. Its online tools can help organize events and fundraising campaigns without spending a lot of money.
“At Facebook our goal is to make the world more open and connected,’’ the company wrote in its online tutorial guide about the social good initiative.
Facebook’s new team, which has working quietly for months, has so far distributed Amber Alerts to help find missing children and launched a feature called Safety Check that allows Facebook users impacted by a disaster to notifies friends and family that they are safe. The team also simplified the process for donating to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and to victims of the Nepal earthquake, a campaign that raised $10 million.
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With the team now public, the group is studying the activity of Facebook’s users affected by the migrant crisis in Europe and the Middle East to find out what tools it can build to help refugees receive aid, get in touch with their families or organize grassroots support.
The team was the brainchild of founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who felt strongly about having a group devoted to helping the California-based company do well around the globe. He tapped Gleit to head up the team, which numbers in the dozens.
Zuckerberg has donated heavily to charitable caused and has used Facebook’s extensive resources to increase Internet access worldwide, regardless of its impact on the company’s bottom line.
At Mashable’s Social Good Summit, Gleit said the goal was to understand how people already use Facebook for causes, then figure out ways to expand upon it by developing new products.
In the past, Facebook has promoted Zuckerberg’s top causes by pushing them out on the top of news feeds. With the new tools, that will no longer be the case.
Facebook isn’t only online network devoted to changing the world. Google has solicited donations for crises and created tools to search for missing people in disasters.