Status update – healthy kidney available: Facebook lets donors sign up to 'share' organs via social network
Could massively increase the number of organs available to patients
Users sign up via TimelineInformation available to medical staff after death
Mark Zuckerberg inspired by death of Steve Jobs
18:45 GMT, 1 May 2012
Zuckerberg says his friendship with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who had received a liver transplant before he died last year, helped spur the idea
Facebook has helped us share everything from wedding photos to our taste in music – now the social network wants to help you share your organs.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg says U.S. and U.K. users will be able to enroll as organ donors via links on the world's biggest social networking site.
Zuckerberg says his friendship with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who had received a liver transplant before he died last year, helped spur the idea.
Zuckerberg announced the organ donor update to Facebook on “Good Morning America” Tuesday.
Facebook users who are already organ donors can add that information to their Facebook Timelines.
Facebook Inc. is busy preparing an initial public stock offering said to be pegged at $5 billion. Facebook's IPO could place the company's value at $100 billion.
Facebook update: Robin Roberts, host of Good Morning America, left, talks to Mark Zuckerberg about the new Facebook feature
Inspiration: Zuckerberg said he was inspired by Steve Jobs' story and wanted to connect people looking for organs
Facebook Timeline information is available even if a user is not signed-in – so the information could be accessed easily by medical staff.
The father of a six-year-old boy who was on the brink of death before receiving a liver and kidney transplant has called for Facebook users to register their interest in organ donation online.
Philip Barton said if users write about their feelings on the subject on the website, it could save the lives of children like his son, Kian.
Mr Barton made his comments as the social media giant announced that users could indicate their thoughts on organ donation using their timelines.
After people have expressed their interest, they are encouraged to sign up to the organ donor register on NHS Blood and Transplant's (NHSBT) page on the site.
Mr Barton, from Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, said Kian suffered from liver disease and kidney failure from a young age.
‘The only option for him was transplant,’ he said. ‘There was no other choice. It was that or certain death.’
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His son received a partial liver and kidney transplant from an adult donor in January 2009.
Mr Barton added: ‘He is doing really well now – he had such a bad start to life, he was so ill – but now he is in school and it is fantastic to see.
‘People don't realise that there are children waiting for transplants.
‘I think this new venture is brilliant because Facebook has such a large demographic and it is increasing in popularity. We need to get as many people as possible on to the register.
‘Facebook becoming involved in something like this is a massively positive step.’
From today, users on the site can add information about their thoughts on organ donation by clicking on the health and well-being section on their timeline. But they are not on the official register until they sign up.
Sally Johnson, NHSBT's director of organ donation and transplantation, hopes it will make more people sign the register.
She said it would also make users' family and friends aware of their views on donating their organs after death.
Ms Johnson said: ‘We need more people to sign up to the register and share their wishes with their friends and family. Our job is to make that as quick and easy as possible.
Previous donor card systems have been unwieldy – signing up via Facebook could massively increase the number of organs available
‘This is an exciting new way to use the power of social media to reach a huge audience and encourage people to think about it, act and share that information.’
Facebook's UK director of policy Simon Milner said: ‘Small acts of kindness happen every day on Facebook but we hope that our partnership with NHS Blood and Transplant will use the power of friendship to save lives.
‘We hope that as a result of this partnership, UK Facebook users will together be able to reduce the number of people who needlessly die waiting for an organ each year.’
At the moment, around 10,000 people need a transplant in the UK and three people die every day while on the waiting list.