Social media giant Facebook is planning to launch a feature meant to allow U.S. healthcare organizations to request blood donations in areas where there are shortages, according to a report from Business Insider.
The tool – which is expected to roll out in the Spring – is an expansion of a blood donation request feature that has already been introduced in Brazil, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
While users in other countries were allowed to request donations as individuals, only qualified healthcare organizations like hospitals and blood banks will be able to put the call out in the United States. There will also be technical tools allowing staffers to eliminate false requests or instances of abuse, according to Business Insider.
This shift was due in part to reports of issues in other countries including black market blood sellers.
Facebook users will have the option of listing themselves as donors and will be notified when there is high need in their area to either donate themselves or share the request over their social network.
The preponderance of natural disasters during 2018 created shortages of donated blood across the country – especially during generally the lean Winter months.
Facebook’s efforts to broach healthcare have been previously stymied by the increased scrutiny of its practices around data security and privacy.
Last year, Facebook’s research project to pair hospital EHR data with demographic and social data was halted in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal which saw the personal data of approximately 87 million Facebook users fall into the hands of a political consulting firm.
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