Social media is no stranger to cause related marketing initiatives. It’s the perfect platform to spread the word, quickly and cheaply, that there is a great cause that you should be supporting. With a click of a button, a swipe of the thumb or a dunk in some icy cold water, you can sit back and feel satisfied that you’ve done your ‘bit’ for charity.
On the flip side, it’s also become a breeding ground for misguided, ill-informed and in some cases, completely fabricated news stories designed to whip people into a frenzy and create a social media storm. One such example is the Ebola outbreak in West Africa which has garnered enough bogus news to be an epidemic in its own right.
Facebook’s response has been nothing short of exemplary.
Rather than give this whole topic a wide berth, they are leading the fight with a series of initiatives that kicked off this week. This includes a number of donation options soon to hit the top of your newsfeed. A partnership with UNICEF to further educate people in high risk areas of the symptoms, treatment and affected regions, all in their native language to dispel the many myths circulating the web. Then the Facebook team are also alleviating pressure on the ground by donating crucial communications technology to some of the most remote and worst affected regions.
You’ll also remember that Mark Zuckerberg himself donated $25m, taking a very personal interest in the cause.
What’s so compelling about Facebook’s response to the Ebola outbreak is not only that it’s trying to take some ownership of helping fix the problem, but it’s also the rigour and authenticity with which it’s applying to their initiatives that make a real difference. They are 100% committed to this and it’s demonstrated through their every action.
For this, Facebook gets my thumbs up.