Originated in 2017 as part of its ‘Safety Check’ toolkit to assist survivors of disasters in connecting with their loved ones, Facebook’s ‘Community Help’ feature is now being expanded for people stuck in quarantine during the global coronavirus lockdown. On Tuesday, in a blog post, the company said that the decision is part of its plans to obtain it easier for people to find and offer help in their communities.
According to Facebook, Community Assistant will be an online hub for people to request or offer help to neighbors, such as volunteering to give groceries or donating to a local food pantry or fundraiser. You can reach Community Help in the COVID-19 Information Center on Facebook or by visiting a dedicated page at facebook.com/covidsupport. The characteristic has just started rolling out in the US, the UK, France, Australia, and Canada, but the company says it is running 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 initially declared 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 encouraged by how people often come together to help one another in times of requirement, but it’s also aimed at addressing ‘missed connections.’
Like many fellow Silicon Valley compatriots, Facebook has also been falling in to help people during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company has already originated a Coronavirus Information Hub in association with the World Health Organization (WHO) to give 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.