Facebook today enabled users to declare their status as a potential organ donor.
Facebook today enabled users to declare their status as a potential organ donor. (Facebook.com)

Starting today, users of the world's biggest social network will be able to declare their status as an organ donor -- just as easily as declaring their likes and relationship status -- in a move that could have a big impact in the organ transplant field.

Facebook announced the news in a big media push this morning, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg appearing on Good Morning America to break the news. Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg wrote about the effort in a blog post on the site.


From their post:

Today, more than 114,000 people in the United States, and millions more around the globe, are waiting for the heart, kidney or liver transplant that will save their lives. Many of those people – an average of 18 people per day – will die waiting, because there simply aren't enough organ donors to meet the need. Medical experts believe that broader awareness about organ donation could go a long way toward solving this crisis. And we believe that by simply telling people that you're an organ donor, the power of sharing and connection can play an important role.

Starting today, you can add that you're an organ donor to your timeline, and share your story about when, where or why you decided to become a donor. If you're not already registered with your state or national registry and want to be, you'll find a link to the official donor registry there as well.

And here's a how-to video of how to change your organ donor status:

The organ donor concept appears to have at least some local connection. COO Sheryl Sandberg and Dr. Andrew M. Cameron, a Johns Hopkins transplant surgeon, talked about the possibility of enabling Facebook to connect organ donors with patients in need last year at their 20 year Harvard reunion, according to Hopkins.

Zuckerberg also told Good Morning America that he was inspired by Steve Jobs, who died of liver-related cancer complications and who received a liver transplant himself, to raise awareness about organ donation.