NEW DELHI : Facebook is rolling out a new tool for its 201 million Indian users that would make it easier for them to donate blood to the needy, while connecting blood banks and hospitals to willing donors residing nearby. Starting October 1 -- National Blood Donor Day -- Facebook users in India will be able to start signing up to be blood donors, the social network giant said in a blog post on Thursday.
To help encourage participation, Facebook will show a message in News Feed or people can edit their Profiles to sign up.
All information will remain private and set to "only me" by default, but people can choose to share their donor status on their timelines.
"This will first be available on Android and mobile web, as these are the most widely-used platforms in India," said Facebook's Health Product Manager Hema Budaraju and Ritesh Mehta, Head of Programmes in South Asia.
When individuals or organisations are in need of blood, they will be able to create a special type of post with all the information donors need to easily offer help.
When a request is created, Facebook will automatically notify blood donors who may be nearby to help spread the word.
Donors can then review the request and, if they wish to respond, contact the requestor directly through WhatsApp, Messenger or a phone call.
The person who needs blood would not 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.
"Our teams have identified a real need in India. People are using Facebook literally thousands of times a week to look for blood donors," Budaraju said.
Facebook has worked with non-profit organisations, health industry experts, potential donors and people who have used the platform to find blood donors to launch this tool.
"We hope this new feature helps people come together in ways that weren't possible before," the blog post said.