Facebook has announced a range of new fundraising and charity options as part of its 'Season of Giving' initiative, which will kick off next week, with Facebook pledging to match donations up to $7 million on Giving Tuesday, "a day when people all over the world come together to support great causes".
As explained by Facebook:
"This year has been difficult for everyone - but one silver lining has been the immense compassion and generosity that so many people have shown. On Facebook and Instagram, people have raised more than $100 million for COVID-19 causes and $65 million for those supporting racial justice this year, and more than 3.9 million people have visited our Community Help page to find ways to give and receive help."
Indeed, amid all the discussion around the negative impacts of social media, and Facebook specifically, the platform has provided assistance for many people in need, and an avenue for promotion for struggling small businesses.
Whether that outweighs the broader concerns around misinformation and the like is difficult to say, but Facebook has provided a lifeline for many SMBs struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic.
Facebook's also adding some new fundraising tools on both Facebook and Instagram, including an option for users to create and share nonprofit fundraisers directly within their feed.
This is in addition to the various existing fundraising and awareness options on its platforms, including fundraising and awareness stickers, fundraisers in Instagram Live, personal fundraisers on Facebook and more.
Facebook says that 100% of what’s raised for nonprofits on Facebook and Instagram will go directly to the organizations, with all donations securely processed by Facebook Pay, "making it seamless to donate in just a few taps". That could also facilitate more assurance in Facebook Pay and its capacity to handle payments, a key element in the company's broader steps into eCommerce and on-platform shopping.
That's obviously an aside from its charity tools, but potentially another benefit of its broader donations push.
Facebook's also looking to facilitate more community assistance, with a new tool called 'Drives', which will make it easier to collect food, clothes and other necessities for people in need.
Drives is rolling out from today, and it will be available in more regions shortly.
These are some helpful tools, which, as noted, help to underline the community benefits that Facebook facilitates, countering at least some of the concerns around the app. The massive reach and engagement of the platform can provide significant means for community connection and assistance, and definitely Facebook does connect more people, and help to keep us all aware of our local happenings and ways that we can help.
It's important for Facebook to maintain the focus on this, amid the various negative stories about its facilitation of fake news, conspiracy theories, dangerous movements, etc.
Facebook does facilitate community good. Does it provide more value than it does negativity?
This will continue to be a topic of debate for some time to come.