Facebook Is Turning Internet Activism Into Something Bigger

Facebook_icon_2013.svgIt is common to hear the term “slacktivism” thrown around. Many people criticize the idea of people showing their support for a cause by liking a Facebook status or changing the filter on their profile picture because they feel that it is not doing something tangible. Others do not see need for criticism, as utilizing social media to raise awareness is better than doing nothing. And after all, who is to say that these people are not taking concrete action as well? But this conflict may be put to an end as Facebook is now making a site specifically for nonprofits.

This site, called nonprofits.fb.com, aims to make it easier for non-profit organizations to fundraise and to gain donors. In a statement, the team at Facebook said “We are inspired by how many people use Facebook to improve the lives of others and help their communities, and we are committed to helping people do more good through Facebook.”

The new site functions partially as an instructional for nonprofits and activist individuals, supplying them with information about the best practices on making fundraising campaigns, increasing awareness, and engaging people in charitable action. This information is all provided in user-friendly step-by-step guides. The site will also be a great forum for groups and individuals to create strong networks with one another. These people will be able to see which tactics worked for similar groups, thus bouncing ideas off of one another and creating group success.

While none of the tools on the site are new, this is a first time there will be a platform on which these features will be specifically directed at those who use Facebook for charitable causes.

The first step to joining the site is having a public “Page” for your cause or group. It is possible for all Facebook users to add a Donate button to their page, but it is best to have your Page officially recognized by Facebook as a charitable cause. If it is not recognized as such, a pop-up appears showing that the page is “not endorsed by or affiliated with Facebook.”

Because the new site was inspired by the way charitable organizations have grown via Facebook in the past, the site features a number of success stories on its page. These are stories of organizations that have used Facebook for social impact and ultimately made big changes in the world. One example is the Malala Fund, which got over one million signatures on a Change.org petitition using the hashtag #withMalala.

Facebook decided to create a team for “social good” in November of 2015. Facebook has been working hard to make charitable efforts, but not all of these efforts have been well received. For example, Facebook’s “Free Basics” campaign worked with the aim to bring Facebook and other web services to users in the developing world. This initiative led to tremendous backlash in India and was banned by the Indian government.

Social media can be a great catalyst for change. Facebook has recognized this and therefore has created its very own platform for charitable organizations. It will be exciting to see how this platform does, and what impact it helps to create.