Facebook teams up with Lyft and others for crisis response efforts

Facebook is amping up its Community Help efforts, now enabling companies like Lyft, Chase, International Medical Corps and Save the Children to easily provide information and services, like food, transportation and shelter, to people in crisis.

“Our priority is to build tools that help keep people safe and provide them with ways to get the help they need to recover and rebuild after a crisis,” Facebook Social Good Product Lead Asha Sharma said in a blog post.

In partnering with Lyft and other companies, people experiencing a crisis will be able to see if there are options for free Lyft rides or supplies via Direct Relief. The full roster of organizations currently on board also includes Chase, Feeding America, International Medical Corps, The California Department of Forestry and Fire, and Save the Children. In the “coming weeks,” Facebook says it will make the ability to post to Community Help available for other companies.

“At Lyft, we’ve long been committed to making safe and reliable transportation more accessible,” Lyft Head of Social Impact Mike Masserman said in a statement. “Through Facebook’s Community Help, we can provide relief rides directly to those in need during a crisis and help communities recover.”

Facebook first launched Community Help last February to help everyday people assist in the aftermath of natural disasters and building fires — two types of crises in which Safety Check would likely be activated.

Safety Check, which first launched in 2014, is designed to let people quickly and easily notify their friends and family that they’re okay after crises in their respective areas. Since launching Community Help as part of Safety Check, Facebook says people have posted, commented or messaged over 750,000 times about 500 different crises.