Facebook today announced it would allow certain businesses to post to Community Help | Source: Shutterstock

Facebook partners with businesses for Community Help

FACEBOOK today announced it will be allowing certain businesses to post to Community Help, where they can offer aid during a crisis.

The Community Help feature was introduced last February, in a bid to allow users to find and provide help during a crisis. In September, the social media giant also launched Crisis Response, a place where people could access safety checks, community help, as well as articles and videos relating to an ongoing crisis.

And now, Facebook has announced changes to the Community Help feature which will allow businesses and organizations to post on the forum, rather than just individuals.

“Enabling organizations and businesses to post in Community Help will give them a new way to reach communities impacted by crises,” Facebook said in its announcement.

“For example, they might post about helping people find everything from free transportation to supplies and connecting volunteers with organizations that need help.”

The platforms Community Help feature has been used during over 500 global crises including Hurricane Harvey, flooding in Mumbai and Brazil, and the attack in Barcelona. Through the help of over 750,000 posts, comments and messages, individuals around the world have been able to access and organize volunteer opportunities, provide emergency shelter, food, and clothing.

By now allowing businesses to post on the page, more organized help can be provided during critical times when communities need it most.

According to a Facebook spokesman, businesses must have a verified page in order to post in Community relief, and promotional content will be strictly prohibited.

Businesses and organizations such as Feeding America, Direct Relief, Lyft, and Save the Children are among the first to trial the new feature. Facebook says it will become available to more groups in the coming weeks.

Feeding America’s Chief Supply Chain Officer Bill Thomas said, as reported by The Next Web,

“From our years of experience across the nation supporting disaster recovery and improving disaster readiness, we know how important it is to connect people on the ground with resources and information in an expedient manner. We believe this tool could be instrumental in assisting local or nearby food banks in providing much needed food to people who have been displaced.”

Facebook’s new update is another way in which the platform is being utilized to build stronger communities for a greater social good. Last year the social network also rolled out tools to enable users in India to begin signing up to be blood donors.

Now, more than four million people have signed up to become a donor in India.

“In addition to enabling people in need to connect to blood donors, our tools also allow organizations to connect to donors more efficiently. Hospitals, blood banks and non-profits can create voluntary blood donation events on Facebook, and nearby donors are notified of the opportunities to donate blood,” says Naomi Gleit, Vice President of Facebook’s Social Good, a team specially dedicated to good social causes.

The Social Good team was created with the aim of building new Facebook products that non-profits and other charitable organizations can leverage to educate supporters, increase advocacy, and connect people with issues they care about.

“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.