Facebook is contributing its supply of 720,000 respiratory masks to U.S. health care workers and is looking to procure millions of additional masks, joining Apple and others pitching in to provide the protective gear amid critical shortages during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s co-founder and CEO, announced the donation Sunday on the social platform.
“Health workers urgently need more protective gear,” Zuckerberg wrote. “To help, Facebook donated our emergency reserve of 720,000 masks that we had bought in case the [California] wildfires continued. We’re also working on sourcing millions of more to donate. I hope you’re all staying healthy and safe!”
The White House has issued a call for private companies to donate any N95 respiratory masks, which are designed to filter at least 95% of airborne particles. For Facebook, the donation of the masks is another opportunity to show it can be a force for good, amid a recent backlash against the company over concerns that it’s grown too big and powerful. As of the end of 2019, the social giant had nearly $55 billion in cash and equivalents.
Last week, Facebook launched the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Center, a new module pinned to the top of users’ News Feeds with information and updates from WHO and the CDC, local health organizations and news outlets.
The company also is shifting more staff to monitor user posts for signs of self-harm or suicide, according to Zuckerberg, and Facebook says it will offer $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for small businesses that need help during the coronavirus crisis.
On the call last week, Zuckerberg also told reporters that — like most of Facebook’s 45,000 employees — he’s working from home during the pandemic.