Facebook adds button for Ebola donations

Being able to stop the spread of Ebola before the epidemic grows would be equivalent to stopping HIV 30 years ago, according to Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg has given millions of dollars toward fighting the virus, which has infected thousands of people in an epidemic that threatens to grow.

“There isn’t enough focus in the world on stopping those things before they get to that scale,” Zuckerberg said during a question-and-answer session from Facebook’s Silicon Valley headquarters on Thursday.


“What I would’ve given to go back to the '70s or '80s ... and prevent HIV from getting to the scale it got to,” he added. “That’s what the world has an opportunity to do with Ebola now.”

Starting on Thursday, Zuckeberg is encouraging the 1.3 billion users of Facebook to make donations of their own to fight the outbreak.

The social network is rolling out a donate button allowing people to give money themselves and then advertise it online. 

Zuckerberg and his wife, pediatrician Priscilla Chan, have given $25 million to help the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) combat the outbreak and prevent it from growing within Africa or to other more populated nations, such as India or Pakistan, he said. 

The Ebola virus has infected more than 13,000 people and killed 4,800, according to the CDC. The vast majority of the infections have occurred in a small handful of West African nations that have struggled to respond to the crisis.