Facebook, Google taking on social causes

Krystal Peak · December 15, 2011 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/22b4

Internet companies are raising funds, awareness of social issues such as slavery, suicide, bullying

The Internet, and especially social media, has such a broad reach across the globe that it seems fitting the companies running the industry should use their power and funds for good.

From slavery and cyber-bullying to suicide, these Internet hubs are making efforts to use gain awareness and help as many people as they can.

This week, Google announced that it was donating $11.5 million to several slavery-curbing initiatives. The announcement alone reminded many people that slavey is not an issue that was curbed in the 1800s and still impacts 27 million people. 

Google is partnering with the Polaris Project, Slavery Footprint and a handful of smaller organizations in a push to better the infrastructure and resources for anti-slavery enforcement agencies overseas.

Three big initiative that these fund will be allocated toward include a $3.5 million intervention project to fight forced labor in India; a $4.5 million advocacy campaign in India to educate and protect those most at risk of slavery conditions; and a $1.8 million plan to encourage Americans to help in the fight against slavery.

The $1.7 million remaining will go to smaller organizations combating various elements of slavery.

This slavery focus by Google.org — the philanthropic portion of the Silicon Valley firm — is part of a $40 million initiative to support various charities from technology to health to human rights. 

Facebook also made some changes this week to do its part to help flag and help people using the social network for malicious or provocative communication. The a new feature launched on Tuesday allows users to flag a post that they think is a cry for help or denotes suicidal concerns.

With nearly 100 Americans committing suicide daily and the prevalence of cyber bullying making news headlines weekly, Facebook is hoping to reduce the rate by creating a method of notifying a healthcare professional through the site. 

Facebook is expanding its partnership with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline so that people can get help with the click of a button.

If a Facebook user sees a message that appears to have suicidal theme and raises concerns, they can "Report story or spam" and choose to "file a report" where they are prompted to choose if this is harassing them, another or if it is suicidal.

Since Facebook has over 800 million users and many people have that ultimately have harmed themselves or others have been bullied or written threatening posts, this is a good first step to curb these social concerns.

Lifeline responds to dozens of users on Facebook each day and has chat options available 24 hours a day.

Facebook will also be the platform where an award-winning film Archie’s Final Project will be screened live on Sunday. This will be the first ever celebrity-hosted Facebook film screening and live chat.  

Archies's Final Project is a powerful movie about a student that is creating a video diary about his plans to kill himself. The movie has never been broadcasted or released to a wide audience but has won more than 20 film festival awards and attracted more than 20,000 Facebook fans. 

This broadcast, hosted by the Facebook application Milyoni will offer viewers the opportunity to “pay it forward”  if they choose to make purchases through the platform and one dollar will be donated to teen suicide hotline and advocacy group, Teen Line

Celebrities have also used social media to push their passion for human rights such as Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore's continued tweets about sex slavery and Olivia Wilde's outreach on Haiti and other areas that have faced natural disaster. 

Miley Cyrus has been the latest celebrity to use Twitter to talk about cyber bullying and this week she tweeted that she would like the microblogging company to follow the social initiative trend and take a larger stand on cyber bullying and the removal of hateful tweets.

I would't be surprised if Twitter is the next Internet company that comes out with new plans to use the social site for bettering the Internet world and the real-world.



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