Facebook Community Help crisis tool is no longer limited to individuals

It says businesses and organizations like Lyft and Direct Relief have a lot to offer during a crisis.

Facebook has been evolving its Safety Check feature over the last year, adding complementary capabilities to go alongside it and building it into a crisis hub. Last February, Facebook introduced Community Help, a feature that allowed users to find and provide help during a crisis and in September, it launched Crisis Response, a one-stop spot where people could access Safety Check, Community Help and media, like articles and videos, related to an ongoing crisis. Now, Facebook has announced some changes to Community Help that will allow organizations and businesses to post in the forum rather than just individuals.

"Enabling organizations and businesses to post in Community Help will give them a new way to reach communities impacted by crises," Facebook said in its announcement. "For example, they might post about helping people find everything from free transportation to supplies and connecting volunteers with organizations that need help." It pointed out that Community Help had been used during more than 500 global crises including Hurricane Harvey, the floods in Brazil and Mumbai, the earthquake in Central Mexico and the attack in Barcelona. Through over 750,000 posts, comments and messages, people have accessed and organized volunteer opportunities, emergency shelter as well as food and clothing donations.

Facebook is rolling out the feature to businesses and organizations starting now and at launch groups like Direct Relief, Feeding America, International Medical Corps, the California Department of Forestry and Fire, Lyft and Save the Children have access. Facebook says it will become available to more groups in the coming weeks.

"We hope this update makes it even easier for people to get the help they need in times of crisis and will give businesses and organizations an opportunity to build stronger communities around them," said Facebook.