Along with your birth date and school, Facebook members will now be able to announce their donor status on their Facebook page. Last week, Facebook launched an initiative that leverages its vast network of roughly 200 million members in the United States to match patients who are waiting for organ transplants with possible donors. The change won’t only be introduced in the U.S., but also in the United Kingdom and several other countries in the coming months.
Nearly 7,000 people in this country die each year while waiting for an organ, and the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network currently has about 114,000 patients on its waiting list.
Through the initiative, Facebook members can declare themselves as organ donors under a new “Health and Wellness” section. The section also includes biographical information, updates on their health (eg, weight loss, broken bones, etc), and links to state donor registries. This feature will also provide links to state online donor registries, where donor status can be updated.
BJ Fogg, PhD, who studies how technology can change attitudes as director of the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford University, told The New York Times that the prominence of organ donation on the Facebook site “will trigger people to make an important decision about whether to be an organ donor, a decision most people in the last year haven’t even considered. If you see all your friends do it, or have the illusion all your friends are doing it, it sets up an expectation of sorts and it may become a social norm.”
If social trends on Facebook can encourage users to update their relationship status, hopefully this trend will catch on as well.
Physician’s Weekly wants to know… what do you think about this new Facebook initiative?