Facebook announced a new initiative on Thursday that it hopes will encourage its massive user base to donate and help tackle the worst Ebola outbreak on record.
Over the next week, the social network said in a blog post, users will see a message at the top of News Feeds that will ask for donations to organizations like the International Medical Corps, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Save the Children. All donations will go directly to the charities.
Beyond that, Facebook is working with UNICEF to spread key information about Ebola symptoms and treatment and collaborating with NetHope in order to provide emergency voice and data services for health and aid workers in the three hardest-hit countries: Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
The Ebola response in West Africa has seen a smaller flow of individual charitable donations than other recent relief efforts. An analysis by the CNNMoney last month found that the American Red Cross had raised $486 million in the wake of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, while it had raised just $100,000 in individual donations toward combatting Ebola, aside from a $2.8 million foundation contribution.
Philanthropists, meanwhile, have represented the largest source of private donations, including a $100 million pledge from Microsoft’s Paul Allen and a $25 million donation from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.