New blood: Facebook launches new feature to encourage donors

Australian users of social media giant Facebook will soon be able to receive information and updates on blood donation opportunities in the platform’s app.

Jun 14, 2021, updated Jun 14, 2021
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (Photo: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (Photo: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Facebook will from Monday establish a new “blood donations” feature for Australians in which they can sign up for updates about giving blood, learn of donation opportunities at local centres and invite friends to donate.

The feature will be available for those aged between 18 and 65.

Similar schemes for Facebook users overseas have prompted more than 100 million users to sign up for information on blood donation, the social media platform says.

Australian Red Cross Lifeblood, which oversees Australia’s blood donation system, said it needs more than 31,000 blood donations each week – one every 24 seconds – to meet the needs of patients.

But most Australian donors are currently aged over 45 and the organisation is hoping to recruit younger donors through Facebook.

“This means we’re able to let people who have updated their profile know when a blood donor centre nearby needs their help,” Lifeblood marketing director Samantha Bartlett said in a statement.

“Over the last 12 months, with the rise of people working from home, people’s donating habits have changed, so this is a great way for people to know when their ‘new’ local donor centre needs a helping hand.”

Facebook Australia and New Zealand public policy director Mia Garlick said the platform was keen to help boost blood donation numbers locally.

“We want it to make it as easy as possible for our Australian community to donate blood and save lives, and within a few clicks you can sign up, be notified when your local donor centre needs more donors to book in, as well as encourage others to do the same,” Ms Garlick said in a statement.

One in three Australians will need blood or blood products in their lifetime.

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