Facebook Now Lets Users Identify Themselves As Organ Donors

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Facebook has been credited with helping to power the ‘Arab Spring’ movement of democracy, and in further ‘we plan to save the world’ news, it is now unveiling a new feature: tell the world you’re an organ donor.

Starting today, you can add that you’re an organ donor to your timeline, and share your story about when, where or why you decided to become a donor, says Facebook.

If you’re not already registered with a U.S. state or national organ donation registry, they are linking to the official donor registry as well.

However, support for sharing that you are an organ donor in another country outside the U.S. is very patchy. “London” is not recognised, although “Londonderry” is. Cardiff returns a blank, though it’s fine if you happen to be in “Moscow City, Russia”. Maybe all it’s based on where you’re more likely to be injured? Go figure.

Update: The UK’s National Health Service Blood and Transplant department says it has today joined the Facebook scheme via a form that sits on the NHSBT Facebook page. There will be a link to the signup form that will appear as the person adds the ‘organ donor’ life event to their Timeline. So presumably if you join that scheme then you are able to go back and then add that you are a donor with that scheme to your timeline – hence why the links to these schemes are currently patchy I guess.

Here’s Facebook’s full post.

Organ Donation: Friends Saving Lives

May 01, 2012
Facebook is about connecting and sharing – connecting with your friends, family and communities, and sharing information with them about your life, work, school and interests. On any given day more than half a billion people share billions of stories, updates and photos.

What has amazed us over the past eight years is how people use these same tools and social dynamics to address important issues and challenges in their communities. Last year in Missouri, Facebook users tracked down and returned treasured mementos to families who thought they’d lost everything in the Joplin tornado. In Japan, people used Facebook to locate family and friends following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Smaller acts of kindness happen millions of times a day on Facebook.

We never could have anticipated that what started as a small network would evolve into such a powerful tool for communication and problem solving. As this happens, we hope to build tools that help people transform the way we all solve worldwide social problems.

Today, more than 114,000 people in the United States, and millions more around the globe, are waiting for the heart, kidney or liver transplant that will save their lives. Many of those people – an average of 18 people per day – will die waiting, because there simply aren’t enough organ donors to meet the need. Medical experts believe that broader awareness about organ donation could go a long way toward solving this crisis. And we believe that by simply telling people that you’re an organ donor, the power of sharing and connection can play an important role.

Starting today, you can add that you’re an organ donor to your timeline, and share your story about when, where or why you decided to become a donor. If you’re not already registered with your state or national registry and want to be, you’ll find a link to the official donor registry there as well.