Facebook fights Ebola with “donate” button

Facebook using its reach to combat Ebola. Pic: Twitter.

Facebook using its reach to combat Ebola. Pic: Twitter.

If you’ve logged into Facebook today, chances are you’ve noticed a “Donate” button for three West African medical charities at the top of your news feed.

This is due to Facebook using its unique reach to combat Ebola.

The social network’s founder Mark Zuckerberg donated US$25 million to the Centers for Disease Control Foundation to help fight Ebola in October.

Thomas Eric Duncan became the first patient diagnosed with Ebola in the US in September.

Duncan had arrived in the US from Liberia, where the Ebola virus was prevalent, to visit family on September 20.

He died at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on October 8.

In his October 14 Facebook post, Zuckerberg said: “We need to get Ebola under control in the near term so that it doesn’t spread further and become a long term global health crisis… We believe our grant is the quickest way to empower the CDC (Centres for Disease Control) and the experts in this field to prevent this outcome.”

Zuckerberg added: “Grants like this directly help the frontline responders in their heroic work. These people are on the ground setting up care centers, training local staff, identifying Ebola cases and much more.”

With an international user base of 1.35 billion, the world’s problems were said to be Facebook’s problems as well, Tech Crunch reported.

Facebook would subsequently pay for feed ads that promote emergency relief organisation United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) posts of Ebola safety info in affected regions.

The social network would also donate 100 satellite internet hotspots to medical facilities and NGOs in the remote areas of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone through NetHope.

These would let aid workers and patients use voice and web connectivity to battle Ebola and stay in touch with loved ones.

The latest Ebola outbreak resulted in about 4 818 deaths, according to the World Health Organisation

Visit Facebook’s Fight Ebola page to make donations.

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