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New feature alerts users when blood donations are needed

Posted at 1:09 PM, Oct 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-15 16:09:19-04

The blood donor base is shrinking, in the U.S. only three out of 100 people give blood. Yet, every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. There are simply aren’t enough people donating to help patients in need.

For many people, blood is not something they think about until someone they love needs it and its not there. Facebook is trying to fix this through their new blood donation feature, which allows people to sign up to be a blood donor on Facebook and get notified when blood banks near them need blood. Since launching the tool in June, Facebook has helped to notify users about a nationwide Red Cross blood shortage this summer and alert people in areas unaffected by Hurricane Dorian to help recover donations canceled by the storm. Similarly, Facebook’s blood donation tool has enabled Vitalant to reach potential blood donors about specific blood type needs to help ensure the right blood type reaches the right patient at the right time.

In the countries where this feature is already available, more than 50 million people have signed up to be blood donors. In two of those countries, India and Brazil, partner blood banks found that 20% of people said that Facebook influenced their decision to donate blood.