Facebook wants to help you share your organs.
Users in the United States and the U.K. can enroll as organ donors via links to official registries on the world’s biggest social networking site, said CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The links should make it easier for people who want to donate their organs to sign up.
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Zuckerberg and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg spelled out their thoughts about the plan in a blog.
“Facebook is about connecting and sharing – connecting with your friends, family and communities, and sharing information with them about your life, work, school and interests,” they wrote. “On any given day more than half a billion people share billions of stories, updates and photos.
“What has amazed us over the past eight years is how people use these same tools and social dynamics to address important issues and challenges in their communities. Last year in Missouri, Facebook users tracked down and returned treasured mementos to families who thought they’d lost everything in the Joplin tornado. In Japan, people used Facebook to locate family and friends following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Smaller acts of kindness happen millions of times a day on Facebook.
“We never could have anticipated that what started as a small network would evolve into such a powerful tool for communication and problem solving. As this happens, we hope to build tools that help people transform the way we all solve worldwide social problems.
“Today, more than 114,000 people in the United States, and millions more around the globe, are waiting for the heart, kidney or liver transplant that will save their lives. Many of those people – an average of 18 people per day – will die waiting, because there simply aren’t enough organ donors to meet the need. Medical experts believe that broader awareness about organ donation could go a long way toward solving this crisis. And we believe that by simply telling people that you’re an organ donor, the power of sharing and connection can play an important role.
“Starting today, you can add that you’re an organ donor to your timeline, and share your story about when, where or why you decided to become a donor. If you’re not already registered with your state or national registry and want to be, you’ll find a link to the official donor registry there as well.”
Facebook users who are already organ donors can add that information to their profile page, now known as their timeline.
Zuckerberg said his friendship with Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs, who had received a liver transplant before he died last year, helped spur the idea, as did talks with his girlfriend Priscilla Chan, a medical student.
More than 112,000 Americans are waiting for organs and 18 people die every day from the lack of available organs, according to Donate Life America, a nonprofit that is teaming with Facebook.
Zuckerberg announced the organ donor update to Facebook on “Good Morning America” Tuesday.
Facebook Inc., based in Menlo Park, Calif., is busy readying an initial public stock offering said to be pegged at $5 billion. Facebook’s IPO could place the company’s value at $100 billion.