Facebook adds blood donation tool to help U.S. blood banks

Facebook has launched a new feature, not just to connect friends, but also to encourage more people to become blood donors.

The goal is simple: Prevent blood shortages and save lives. Every two seconds, someone in the US needs blood.

However, blood banks are seeing a drop in donors.

To help raise awareness, Facebook's new feature will help people sign up to become a donor, find a location, and also get alerts when supply is low.

The social network has launched similar features in 4 other countries and says that drove donations of 35 million units of blood.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg explains how it works.

"We're going to put a notice right at the top of news feed asking people to register if they want to. And if you register with our partners, like the American Red Cross, if there's a need for blood in your city, they're going to be able to notify you," she said.

Right now only three percent of Americans who could give blood actually donate.

Sandberg says Facebook won't share any of your personal or health information with the blood banks. Only you can decide to do that if you donate.

The launch of the tool coincides with World Blood Donor Day on June 14, an international event to thank voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their lifesaving gifts of blood while raising awareness of the need for regular blood donations.

The American Red Cross, America's Blood Banks, and other networks have partnered with Facebook.
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