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Facebook button triggers tidal wave of human organs

We're all heart. And liver, kidneys, pancreas ...

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Thousands of Facebook users packed with fresh, reusable organs have signed up to the organ donor lists in the US and the UK.

The NHS saw 850 direct signups through Facebook in the 24 hours since the option went live, and noticed a spike in website donor sign-ups too.

The Donate Life San Diego branch posted a 1400% increase in organ donor registration yesterday with a massive spike of interest just after the button went live. The Donate Life California branch reported a 800% increase in sign-ups yesterday, according to the LA Times. Most days the group gets about 75 online sign-ups, but by early afternoon Tuesday, it had received nearly 700, CEO Charlene Zittel told the paper.

Organ donation in America is handled by Donate Life America: an alliance of state and national teams that co-ordinates donation across the country. In the UK donors are handled by the NHS Blood and Transplant service.

The introduction of a Tell the World I'm an Organ Donor option in Facebook yesterday and the accompanying publicity around donating seem to have fuelled a big uptake. Zuckerberg popped up on Good Morning America to talk about organs yesterday and COO Sheryl Sandberg did a turn on the ABC evening news show. Not many Facebook interface tweaks get that amount of airtime.

In the UK, Facebook has partnered with the NHS Blood and Transplant service, taking users to their Facebook page and then website to sign up to be donors. Some 850 have signed up directly through Facebook since yesterday, and an NHS spokesperson said they'd seen "a spike" in web and phone sign-ups yesterday too, though couldn't provide the figures. ®

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