Facebook isn’t happy just hoarding your data for its own good, so now it wants your actual blood. But it’s all for a good cause, as the site’s new Blood Donation notifications feature could help lives. Soon, Facebook users in several US cities will get prompts inside the app to donate blood whenever it’s needed. It’s a great move from the company that could help improve blood supply for people who need it the most.
Facebook said in a blog post that every 2 seconds someone in America needs blood, and a single donation might save as many as three lives. But blood banks are seeing a decline in donors in the US. Initially, the new Blood Donations feature will go live in markets including Chicago, New York City, San Francisco Bay Area, Baltimore and Washington, DC, but it should roll out nationwide in the coming months.
Facebook has partnered with several blood banks, the announcement explains, including America’s Blood Centers, the American Red Cross, Inova, New York Blood Center, Rock River Valley Blood Center, Stanford Blood Center, Versiti, and Vitalant.
Users will have to opt-in to receive Blood Donations notifications, as you can see in these screenshots. As soon as you sign-up to become a Blood Donor on Facebook, you might see notifications pop up from nearby blood banks. This “nearby” detail indicates that you’ll have to allow Facebook to track your location because, of course, we’re going to talk about privacy whenever Facebook launches a new product or initiative.
The blog post doesn’t address the location tracking requirement of the new feature. Hopefully, Blood Donations also works without allowing Facebook to record your location history. You should still be able to look for blood banks that need donors. On the other hand, not being able to respond immediately to a request for blood in your area because your location tracking is turned off kind of defeats the purpose of the feature. The idea here is to encourage people to donate blood when it really counts.
Finally, there’s also a feature that asks users to “inspire friends to donate blood so they can help save lives too,” which should help raise awareness about blood donations.