As part of its ever-expanding COVID-19 relief and assistance efforts, Facebook has this week 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.
As explained by Facebook:
"Today we’re announcing Community Help, a place for people to request or offer help to neighbors, such as volunteering to deliver groceries or donating to a local food pantry or fundraiser."
The platform, which you can access here, enables you to search through assistance/request posts which have been posted by anybody within a 50mi radius of your location - though you can also narrow down the range of your search (down to 5mi) to your immediate, local community.
Social media expert Matt Navarra posted this image of the platform late last week.
When you tap on either 'Request Help' or 'Offer Help', you activate a pop-up tab, which includes a range of options that you can add to your post, including up to 14 images and relevant tags to help sort your post for searchers.
You can also set a preferred contact method (Messenger or WhatsApp), and choose to post publicly or only to friends, as with regular Facebook posts.
And while the focus right now is on assisting those in need of help amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Facebook may opt to keep Community Help as a permanent option, giving local communities a means to better connect and help each other via the app.
The functionality is actually similar to how people are using Nextdoor, which has seen a surge in interest amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Facebook already offers some similar features, including listings of local services, and Marketplace, which hosts local sales. But Community Help is more specifically focused on facilitating assistance - which, while much like Nextdoor, makes sense for Facebook to be offering, given its broader reach and the benefits it could potentially provide in the current environment.
The option is first being launched in the US, the UK, France, Australia and Canada, which will happen over the next few days, with Facebook planning to expand the functionality to more regions "in the coming weeks".