Former HKSAR financial secretary, John Tsang (5th from right), visits the Hong Kong Facebook offices.

Over the past decade, Facebook has made the world a more open and connected place in a way previously unimaginable. Today, it is set to build a better global community by empowering volunteers, donors and social activists in the digital era. Jayne Leung, Facebook’s Vice President & Head of Greater China, explains the company’s ambition of bringing the world closer together

By Kenny Lau  

Jayne Leung (left) interviews John Tsang (right) at an event

What motivated Facebook to do more about “social good?”

People are using Facebook to raise awareness and support for causes they care about; this motivates others to do the same. Through our site, people raise money for disaster relief, search for missing children, and bring attention to the issues that matter to them. 

People are often willing to lend a hand to the needy around the world, just they may not be able to find a right way to do so. We are inspired by how much good comes from connecting on Facebook. As such, we’ve been building products to make those connections even easier, allowing more people to do good in the world. 

How can Facebook be used to help others?

Since the launch of Facebook’s various products for social good, we’ve seen wide usage from the public. There are more than 150 million people globally that are connected to a cause-related page on Facebook; hundreds of thousands of dollars for nonprofits have been raised since November 2015 when fundraising functions were first tested on Facebook. Moreover, nearly one billion people have received a “Safety Check” notification from a friend or family member since 2014. We believe the usage rate will keep on rising as Facebook makes invisible victims visible. Images and stories shared on Facebook inspire the public to act faster while more tools are created to bring better solutions within reach. 

What does Facebook do to promote social good worldwide?

Facebook holds an annual “Global Causes Day” to give employees around the world a chance to engage in different activities. In Hong Kong this year, we held a “Good Causes Day” to educate local non-profit organizations on how Facebook tools can be used to promote charitable events and raise public awareness of social causes. 

The event brought together dozens of local NGO representatives and advocates of corporate social responsibility on a platform where they could share their experiences of using social media for public welfare. Meanwhile, our employees showed them how they could utilize Facebook in an effective way, in particular, how to leverage our tools to gain greater recognition and support from the public. 

Does Facebook partner with local NGOs on specific social campaigns?

We’ve given our support to many social campaigns. Recently, these have included the “My Real Career Line” campaign led by The Women’s Foundation to promote gender equality, in the workplace and the “Concert in the Dark” campaign led by Dialogue in the Dark (DiD) to promote social inclusion.  We were humbled to learn that the “Concert in the Dark” campaign reached an audience of over 500,000 in Hong Kong – a result CEO of DiD Chong Chan-yau said he never expected. As a social media partner, we became part of a highly successful fundraising campaign supporting DiD’s work for the local disabled community, and are now working with Mr. Chong and his team for another fundraiser online. 

We are glad to see more and more local non-profit organizations making the best use of social media to promote their social causes. This is in line with our mission of bringing the world closer together, and we believe these NGOs have a critical role to play in bringing the local community closer as well.

Screenshotted examples of how two local NGOs used Facebook's media sharing tools to promote their social campaigns

What benefits have people experienced using Facebook for social good?

Seeing what gets peoples’ attention helps NGOs better understand their target audiences and create relevant content more likely to be shared. You can also strengthen real-life relationships through regular online engagement with your supporters. Simply put, authentic connections lie at the heart of a strong community.  Facebook has created a “Donate” feature that will allow people to donate to charities in times of great need via Facebook, without geographical limitations. On an individual level, people can let others know they’re safe in a major disaster or crisis via the popular “Safety Check” tool. 

Facebook's "Donate" feature facilitates community fundraising efforts to help those in need

Facebook users can mark themselves as "Safe" in times of crisis to alert friends and loved ones of their status using the site's "Safety Check" tool

How the "Safety Check" tool appears on a handheld mobile device

What does the future have in store for Facebook?

At Facebook, we are constantly enhancing the functions and layouts of our site so that non-profit organizations can use it to raise greater awareness of their social causes, conduct more accurate analyses of their audiences and support their business strategies. 

As stories, images and information circulate faster and broader around the globe through Facebook, our world is more connected now than ever before. We serve and empower a very large community of volunteers, donors and activists by building products that connect people and create positive social impact. 

In the future, we will continue to support the development of local and international non-profit organizations through different means. We are keen on joining hands with different non-profit organizations, businesses and even individuals to bring the world closer and do more good in the world.