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Facebook features Groups, organ donor option

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Facebook has revamped its Groups feature and announced a new feature that allows users to register to become an organ donor. The new Groups feature also prompts students to join the Ohio State community by listing their OSU email address in order to gain access to groups created specifically for OSU students.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Tuesday that another change is coming to the site. Users can add that they are organ donors on their timeline and share their story about why or how they made that choice. Organ donor status can be shared publicly or kept private. The feature also has a link to the official donor registry, so that users can sign up if they choose. According to Donate Life America, an organization that promotes organ donations that is working with Facebook, thousands of users have already enrolled.

Rachael Sergent, a second-year in nursing, said she sees the addition as a positive because it could raise awareness.

“I think it’s good if it’s going to help save people’s lives,” Sergent said.

The Groups application has long been a feature on Facebook, a social media site that allows people to connect with others and share information. The addition of the email verification ensures that all groups within the Groups at Ohio State community are created by past or current students. There are more than 18,800 members of Groups at Ohio State, with the number increasing each day. However, Groups at Ohio State is not affiliated with or endorsed by OSU.

Groups have been created for graduation classes, majors, residence halls, student organizations and common interests. Any member can create a new group or join an existing group.

Shannon Van Schaik, a fourth-year in psychology and nursing, said she joined Groups at Ohio State when she saw the prompt at the top of her newsfeed. Van Schaik visits Facebook every day and said she could see potential benefits in joining this particular Facebook group community.

“It’s beneficial for networking and staying in touch with people,” Van Schaik said.

Ranjit Ganguly, a fifth-year in biology, doesn’t see as much value in being a member. Ganguly chose not to join Groups at OSU.

“I just felt like I didn’t need to be in a large group because I already have those friends individually,” Ganguly said.

Ganguly supports the new organ donor status as well, because it makes registering more accessible and possibly more popular.

“I feel like it’s a way to make (registering) easier for people,” Ganguly said. “It’s also a way to market it as something cool. It’s not just an old lady at the BMV asking if you want to be an organ donor.”
 

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