The social network pledged to match user donations up to $2 million. The company, along with tech giants
such as Google and Viber, had already launched a service to help survivors find loved ones.
Facebook launched “Safety Check” soon after the disaster, which allows users in the affected area to notify others on the site that they are alright.
“If you’re in one of the areas affected by the earthquake, you’ll get a notification asking if you’re safe, and whether you want to check on any of your friends,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a post on the site Saturday morning. “When disasters happen, people need to know their loved ones are safe. It’s moments like this that being able to connect really matters.”
Zuckerberg’s post has been shared more than 40,000 times. The alert service covers users within 310 miles of the earthquake’s epicenter, an area that includes Nepal as well as parts of India, Bangladesh and Bhutan.
“During times of crisis, we have seen people turn to Facebook to learn about what’s happening, share their experiences and support one another,” Facebook noted in a blog post about its donation service, which it had earlier rolled out last fall during the height of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
The donations will go to International Medical Corps, which has mobile emergency response teams working in the most affected areas after the worst earthquake to strike Nepal in 81 years.
Apple has also started asking users to donate to the Red Cross through iTunes, while Viber – a popular voice and messaging app based in Cyprus – said it turned off all billing for users in Nepal.
Google launched Person Finder on Saturday, a way users can post and search for those affected by the quake. The company was personally touched by the tragedy when executive Dan Fredinburg was killed in a resulting avalanche while he was climbing Mt. Everest.