Launched in 2017 as part of its ‘Safety Check’ toolkit to help survivors of disasters connect with their loved ones, Facebook’s ‘Community Help’ feature is now being expanded for people stuck in quarantine during the global coronavirus lockdown. In a blog post on Tuesday, the company said that the decision is part of its plans to “(make) it easier for people to find and offer help in their communities”.
According to Facebook, Community Help will be an online hub for people to request or offer help to neighbors, such as volunteering to deliver groceries or donating to a local food pantry or fundraiser. You can access Community Help in the COVID-19 Information Center on Facebook or by visiting a dedicated page at facebook.com/covidsupport. The feature has just started rolling out in the US, the UK, France, Australia and Canada, but the company says it is working to bring it to more countries in the coming weeks.
In case you don’t know it already, Community Help is a Facebook initiative that was originally announced in 2017 as a way to check up on loved ones after disasters, such as terrorist attacks, earthquakes, hurricanes, etc. According to the company, it was inspired by how people often come together to help one another in times of need, but it’s also aimed at addressing ‘missed connections’.
Like many of its fellow Silicon Valley compatriots, Facebook has also been pitching in to help people during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company has already launched a Coronavirus Information Hub in association with the World health Organization (WHO) to provide daily reports on the disease, as well as information on social distancing and how to go about it. It has also committed up to $20 million in donations to COVID-19 relief efforts and is supporting fact-checkers to weed out misinformation regarding the outbreak.