Facebook creates donations button to help fight Ebola

WASHINGTON - Facebook said it would create a button to make it easier for its billion-plus users to donate to organisations battling the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

The button, which will appear at the top of user news feeds, will enable an easy donation to groups such as International Medical Corps, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Save the Children.

"In times of crisis, people turn to Facebook to learn about what's happening, share their experiences and offer support," a Facebook statement said.

It noted that while the organisations have already been using Facebook to raise funds, "we want to amplify these calls for action and help organisations raise awareness and connect directly with people around the world."

A "donate" feature will allow Facebook members to directly send money to one of the three organisations.

"All of the money raised will go directly to the charities working on the ground," the statement said.

Facebook said it was also working with UNICEF "to deliver important education about Ebola symptoms and treatment to people in affected and neighbouring regions."

Additionally, the social network said it would offer emergency voice and data services in cooperation with the non-government consortium NetHope to assist aid workers in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said last month he and his wife were donating US$25 million (S$32.4 million) to help US efforts to contain the deadly Ebola epidemic.