This article was published on May 1, 2012

Facebook’s new ‘life-saving’ feature: Share that you’re an organ donor on your Timeline

Facebook’s new ‘life-saving’ feature: Share that you’re an organ donor on your Timeline

We knew that Mark Zuckerberg would announce something that would help Facebook users ‘save lives’ but today the company has revealed that it will allow users to state that they are organ donors on their Timeline, providing links to help them sign up with a donor registry also.

The social network aims to help the 114,000 people in the US and millions around the world who are awaiting transplants, alerting friends and family that they are registered to donate their organs in the event of their death.

The interesting thing about Facebook’s new feature is that it can  go viral, thereby putting peer pressure on friends and family and entice them to become an organ donor themselves. With Facebook offering a link to a sign-up page, it is able to drive registration directly from users’ Timelines and help others share their status.

Facebook explains the new feature:

With the addition of “organ donor” to the Life Events section of timeline, you can state your intention to become an organ donor, and share your story about when, where or why you decided to become a donor. If you are not officially registered as an organ donor, sign up with the appropriate registry.

To add that you’re an organ donor to your Timeline, you have to follow the following instructions:

  1. Click Life Event at the top of your timeline
  2. Select Health & Wellness
  3. Select Organ Donor
  4. Select your audience and click Save

The company says that the feature “is only available in some countries,” providing links to registries in both the US and UK, so it could be limited on launch day and roll out wider as Facebook partners with donation charities and organisations around the world.

Yesterday, it was revealed that Mark Zuckerberg and company had something up its sleeves and would announce it this morning on “Good Morning America”. During the exclusive interview, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg will show the world a new tool that “has the power to save lives from their new Menlo Park, CA headquarters”.

In the release, Zuckerberg and Sandberg noted:

Facebook’s mission is simple: to make the world more open and connected. But the Facebook community has also shown us that simply through sharing and connecting, the world gets smaller and better. Even one individual can have an outsized impact on the challenges facing another, and on the world. At Facebook, we call that the power of friends.

The new feature will certainly help spread the word about organ donation, no doubt increasing sign-ups from users who see that their Facebook connections are doing the same.

See also: California sees 800% boost in organ donation registration thanks to Facebook