Earlier this week, Facebook announced it would be adding organ donor status to member information on the popular social networking site. It will also provide links to state online donor registries where people can easily sign up to be a donor.
It is believed that surfacing this information on member profiles on the site will not only raise awareness of the cause but also encourage registrations. Individuals will see the donor status of their peers and may be influenced to register as well.
I will admit that I question if a radio button checked on a website will in fact lead to offline behavior and registration. In the case where being seen as an organ donor may be positive, there is always the chance someone will declare themselves a donor on Facebook while not actually registering. Admittedly, I’m not sure of how much prestige goes with this admission, but it’s plausible. That being said, however, those in the field of organ donation believe that this information may still be used to help family members make a decision as to donate an individual’s organs even if he is not in the registry.
Organ donation is a relatively safe social issue, but one can only wonder if Facebook is prying open what could be a contentious door for causes. One such issue that comes to mind is immunization. I can only imagine there could be both positive and negative responses were Facebook to ask people to share their immunization status on their profiles, and Facebook as an organization may well be vilified for its support for a controversial behavior.
What do you think about Facebook adding organ donor status to its site? Is this an appropriate outlet for such information?