At the beginning of last month, Facebook launched a new platform called “Community Help,” where people can either offer help to other members of their community, or request help in completing the tasks of local residents. Now, given the constant demand for help in various forms in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, Facebook is expanding the Community Assistance Center to serve more types of assistance.
As TechCrunch first reported, in its initial iteration, the Help Center allowed users to request and respond to requests for help regarding food supplies, local resources, and volunteers. Facebook now also includes ways in which people can support local businesses, donate to blood banks, promote nonprofits, and more.
Many of these features already exist on Facebook in various forms – for example, the ability to support small local businesses was also launched as a separate element on the platform at the beginning of last month. Given the crisis, Facebook is now trying to group all of these different options together in order to better promote them in a team and help raise awareness in more places.
New features will be launched at Giving Tuesday Now on May 5th. Giving Tuesday Now is an optional one-time Giving Tuesday event launched in response to COVID-19.
With the ongoing situation with COVID-19, Facebook is looking for new ways to use its unrivaled reach and presence to help bring together communities and demonstrate the benefits of its platform as a reach and connectivity tool. Facebook definitely has the greatest potential in this direction – with 2.6 billion active users, Facebook remains the leading social platform by a significant margin, while Facebook usage has also grown during the current period of global blocking.
However, at the same time, Facebook has competition on this front. The small Next Door community app also increased the number of people joining groups to help each other during a pandemic by 7 times and has become for many a key connecting tool to help local relief efforts.
Given this, the increased emphasis on Facebook may also have a protectionist element, as it seeks to maintain its position as a leading platform on all fronts.
Again, Facebook has reach, but it also knows that it needs to focus on meeting such needs and maximizing utility to reflect potential competition.
New Community Hub tools will be available from tomorrow in the US, UK, France, Australia, and Canada.