Facebook is leveraging its 2.3 billion users to fight the opioid epidemic. In late 2018, the social media giant teamed up with Google, Twitter, and the nonprofit Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies, in a coalition called Tech Together to Fight the Opioid Crisis. Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram now direct people searching for information about opioids to free and confidential resources like the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s national hotline. At the same time, both sites are using new algorithms to detect and delete content that drug dealers post online to attract new customers.
Facebook’s phenomenal reach also means it can lend anti-opioid-addiction nonprofits a hand. In 2017, for instance, a national group called Facing Addiction asked the company to co-sponsor its social-media fundraising campaign. The results: More than 15,000 new volunteers in all 50 states, and online donations 30 times higher than in the previous year.
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