Facebook Expands Community Help Function To Allow Neighbors To Ask For And Offer Help During The COVID-19 Pandemic the company announced. The feature was first launched in 2017 to help people help each other in the aftermath of natural and man-made disasters, but is now expanded to help cope with the health crisis. The feature is being rolled out in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Australia and Canada, and will be available in more countries in the coming weeks.
You can access the Help section of the Facebook community via the COVID-19 information center at the top of the news feed, or by go directly to the section. Once there, you can filter by messages that offer or ask for help, and you can also select the types of help you are looking for with categories such as baby supplies, transportation, or food. Individual messages indicate how far the person is from you, and you can then respond publicly with a comment or respond privately.
NextDoor launched a similar help card two weeks ago, but the larger Facebook user base and location of the help function could give it a much wider reach. Facebook also allows users to ask for and offer help (NextDoor only allows users to offer help) and it is independent of users who display their location on a map – you only see the distance of another user from you.
If you plan to offer help via the new Facebook feature, be sure to follow the advice of health authorities like the WHO or the CDC, for example, by washing your hands regularly and following the advice of social distancing. Most importantly, be sure to follow self-isolation guidelines if you or someone you have recently interacted with has flu-like symptoms. It can be nice to help your neighbors, but you could be doing more harm than good if you are at risk of transmitting an infection.