Early last month, Facebook launched a new platform called 'Community Help', where people can either offer assistance to others within their community, or request help with tasks from locals. Now, given the ongoing demand for assistance, in various forms, amid the coronavirus pandemic, Facebook is expanding the Community Help hub to cater to more assistance types.
As first reported by TechCrunch, in its original iteration, the Help Hub enabled users to request and respond to calls for help in relation to food supplies, local resources, and volunteers. Now, Facebook is also incorporating ways in which people can support local businesses, donate to blood banks, promote nonprofits and more.
Many of these features already exist on Facebook in different forms - the option to support small local businesses, for example, was also launched in its own element on the platform early last month. Given the crisis, Facebook is now looking to group all of these various options together, to better promote them as a collective, and help raise awareness in more places.
The new features will be launched on "Giving Tuesday Now", which is being held on May 5th. Giving Tuesday Now is an additional, one-off Giving Tuesday event launched in response to COVID-19.
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 situation, Facebook has been looking for more ways to utilize its unmatched reach and presence to help connect communities, and showcase the benefit of its platform as an outreach and unification tool. Definitely, Facebook has the most potential on this front - with 2.6 billion active users, Facebook remains the leading social platform, by a significant margin, while Facebook usage has also surged during the current global lockdown period.
Yet, at the same time, Facebook does have competition on this front. Small community app NextDoor has also seen a 7x increase in people joining groups to help one another during the pandemic, and has become a key connective tool for many, assisting in local relief efforts.
Given this, Facebook's increased emphasis may also have a protectionist element, as it seeks to keep a hold on its position as the leading platform on all fronts.
Again, Facebook has the reach, but it also knows that it needs to stay focused on serving such needs, and maximizing utility, to fend off potential competition.
The new Community Hub tools will be available from tomorrow in the US, the UK, France, Australia and Canada.