Thank God for Facebook: When Platforms Proselytize


The following is an excerpt from a post by David Talbot that appeared on MIT Technology Review. You can read the article in its entirety here. “Thank God for Facebook,” the liver transplant surgeon Andrew Cameron said earlier this week at a conference about behavioral economics and social media at Harvard Law School. Cameron directs transplants at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and he was celebrating Facebook’s efforts–which a spokeswoman told me will soon intensify on the mobile site–to promote organ donation through new functionality and prompts shown to its users.

Last May Facebook started letting users add organ-donation status to their Facebook “timelines,” telling friends and family of their status, and directing people who aren’t signed up to the official organ donor registries. Facebook’s effort garnered enormous publicity, and the United States experienced a real-world organ-registration surge. California, which normally gets 70 registrations a day with Donate Life California, saw about 2,000 the day after Facebook’s announcement (see “What Facebook Knows”). The effort is expanding around the world, too.

Photo credit imagerymajestic