Facebook partnered with an organ donation group to promote awareness of organ donation shortages by adding a new feature to users' profiles.
Social and business connections are no longer enough for Facebook, which is moving into health. In a giant step, the social networking company partnered with Donate Life America to spread organ donation awareness.
New to Facebook users’ profiles is the option of adding donor plans, just like someone would include his or her hometown.
“Thousands of lives will be saved or healed as a result of this initiative,” David Fleming, president and chief executive officer of Donate Life America, said in a statement. “We want to encourage every Facebook user to take a moment and update their timeline, register to be a donor, and share their decision with family and friends. It is a simple way to provide hope for those in need.”
As with Facebook’s other features, the organ donor status can be put to various levels of privacy; however, there are some concerns with the option that users should be aware of.
Medical information posted on Facebook isn’t protected the way information given to a physician is, according to . Although, in the past Facebook had said that anything in the “life events” section of a profile can’t be targeted by advertisers.
Furthermore, as well intentioned as marking yourself as an organ donor might be, just updating your Facebook profile isn’t legally binding. The site has included links to state registries to people can enroll officially.
In the U.S. alone, more than 100,000 people are waiting for a life-saving transplant, and on the first day the new option was available on Facebook an almost equal number of people used the feature to declare themselves donors, according to Donate Life America.
However, the group said only 18,000 users had used the link to state registries, and there was no way to know how many of those had followed through and registered.
According to Bloomberg, even though Facebook will probably boost awareness of organ donation shortages, even that probably won’t be enough.
“Even if everybody eligible to be an organ donor became an organ donor it would not satisfy the need,” Richard Durbin, direction of the division of transplantation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration, told .