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Facebook Makes it Easier to Help During a Crisis

Starting today, organizations and businesses can post in Facebook’s Community Help, so that they can provide critical information and services for people to get the help they need in a crisis.

This announcement comes hot on the heels of Facebook’s decision in January to tackle fake news and promote articles and sources that are “trustworthy, informative and local.” According to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, “There’s too much sensationalism, misinformation and polarization in the world today.” While many media outlets, publications and brands are struggling to understand how the new Facebook rules will affect the visibility of their content on the world’s largest social media network, it’s clear that Zuckerberg is not just censoring – he’s also proactively adding new features to boost this new direction.

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This past year people came to Facebook around some of the worst crises across the world to let their friends and family know they’re safe, learn and share more about what’s happening and help communities recover. In particular, many used Community Help to ask for and give help in times of crisis — everything from providing shelter, to rescuing people from flood waters and gathering and distributing clothing, food and water.

How to create a Community Help post

  1. Go to Crisis Response on Facebook
  2. Select the Crisis page you’re interested in, then click the “Community” tab to go to Community Help
  3. Find Help or Give Help by creating a post and commenting on other people’s posts. You can also message people directly from within their posts.

Since launching this feature a year ago, people have posted over 750,000 comments and messages in Community Help for more than 500 different crises. During Hurricane Harvey in the US in August last year, brothers Austin and Nathan grabbed their boat after seeing Community Help posts from people who were trapped and rescued 20 people from the rising waters. 

After the attack in Barcelona in August, Javier took to Community Help to seek psychological support for his friend who witnessed the attack. Lina, a psychotherapist, responded and the next day she met up with Javier’s friend in-person.

People from more than 450 different cities across India took to Community Help to offer help to those affected by the flooding in Mumbai in August last year and after the earthquake in Central Mexico in September, volunteers arrived within an hour to help prepare food for victims.

On average, for every post requesting help, there are five posts offering help. 

But people helping people is only part of the solution. Organizations and businesses also play an integral role in responding to crises and helping communities rebuild. Organizations and businesses can now get involved by posting in Community Help, opening up new possibilities for getting help to those in crisis.

Facebook is beginning to roll out the feature to Pages for organizations and businesses like Direct Relief, Lyft, Chase, Feeding America, International Medical Corps, The California Department of Forestry and Fire and Save the Children and will make the feature available to more in the coming weeks.

Allowing organizations and businesses to post in Community Help will give them new ways to reach communities impacted by crises and provide resources to help them recover. For example, they might post about helping people find everything from free transportation to supplies and connecting volunteers with organizations that need help.

“Facebook’s priority is to build tools that help keep people safe and, when crisis does strike, make it easier for them to get the help they need to recover and rebuild,” said Aften Meltzer of Facebook.

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