Many Facebook users began seeing a "Donate Now" button at the top of their News Feed on Thursday, an attempt by the social media giant to encourage donations toward the fight against Ebola.
Complete with a personalized message, the charity reminder and donate button will enable Facebook users to donate to one of three charities -- the International Medical Corps, the American Red Cross and Save The Children. All three currently have operations set up in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, the three West African countries hit hardest by the deadly disease.
As part of its multifaceted attempt to thwart Ebola, Facebook has also been working with global nonprofit UNICEF to help spread factually accurate information about the virus to users in the regions most affected by the current outbreak. The News Feeds of West African Facebook users now feature messages about Ebola detection, prevention and treatment.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is also contributing directly to the cause. Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, donated $25 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention efforts to combat the Ebola crisis.
Additionally, the company is donating satellite terminals to help facilitate better communication among healthcare workers and those organizing the response in West Africa. The three-pronged charity effort was announced in a post to Facebook's Newsroom.
Of course, not everyone thinks the moves by Facebook are entirely altruistic. At least part of the company's motivation, says Michael Leis, a VP at wellness brand advertising agency DigitasHealth, is the chance to build traction in a new industry. Their latest foray into fight against Ebola looks like the first iteration of their promise to enter into the health care industry.
"Just like any features that Facebook rolls out, it's because they see other players doing it at scale," Leis told Gigaom. "When they understand that there's an opportunity or a scale movement behind anything, healthcare included, they look at that as an opportunity."