Facebook is now making it possible for its millions of users to publicly declare their organ donor status on their timelines. The move has the potential to help the over 114,000 people in the US and millions abroad waiting for transplants, both by spreading knowledge about organ transplantation and providing an online record of your registration. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the feature on Good Morning America this morning, where he also provided details about where the idea came from.
According to Zuckerberg, both his relationship with his girlfriend (who's in medical school) and with Steve Jobs (a "friend" who survived a few more years because of a liver transplant) inspired the feature. He also cited tornado and tsunami recovery efforts on Facebook as a factor, mentioning that the tech behind the feature is a "pretty simple thing," but connecting people in order to save lives is "amazing."
You can add your donor status from the Health and Wellness menu in the Life Event pane. From here you can fill in when and where you registered to be a donor and add a personal story about your decision, if you're so inclined. Facebook also provides a link to help you find the appropriate registry if you haven't yet officially signed up. It looks like the update isn't live everywhere yet (it's working for us in the UK but not in Japan), but it sounds like Facebook's planning to roll this out worldwide.
For the full interview with Zuckerberg on Good Morning America, see the first video below, and for the official promo video from Facebook, see the second video below.
Ellis Hamburger contributed to this report.