Hurricane Harvey: Facebook, Google and other firms lend a helping hand

Facebook, Google and other companies are helping to raise money for nonprofits responding to the havoc that Hurricane Harvey left behind in Texas.

Facebook said Tuesday it is matching donations — up to $1 million — raised on the social network for the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund.

Users in the United States can donate through a message at the top of their News Feed or through the center’s Facebook page.

“Over the past few days, thousands of you have asked for help and offered help on Facebook to people who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey using Safety Check and Community Help,” wrote Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a social media post. “Now we want to give everyone another way to make a difference.”

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Google is making a $250,000 donation to the American Red Cross through its charitable arm and said it would match up to $250,000 in employee donations. It’s also matching the first $1 million in donations, which will go to the Network for Good and then distributed to the American Red Cross.

Amazon and Whole Foods are matching up to $1 million in donations made through the e-commerce site to the American Red Cross. Apple is also allowing people to donate through iTunes or the App store.

The Walt Disney Co. and the ABC television station its owns, KTRK in Houston, said Tuesday they were donating $1 million to the American Red Cross.

Meanwhile, cell phone carriers including Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-mobile are offering free service for those affected by the hurricane.

Airbnb is providing free housing for those impacted by the hurricane until Sept. 25.

Tech firms have been putting the features they created for disaster response to good use. Google launched an “SOS alert” for the hurricane, which features news, a crisis map and other resources for people impacted by the storm.

Facebook activated its Safety Check feature so friends and family in the area could let their loved ones know that they are safe.

And people who have been stranded by the floods have turned to other social media sites, including Twitter and Nextdoor, to reach out for help.

Some users were even posting their addresses on social networks.

The U.S. Coast Guard, though, urged people to call 911 or the command center if they were in trouble.

Photo: Erik Peterson and his son, Carlos, 10, are rescued from their house to a dam on the Addicks Reservoir as waters rise from Tropical Storm Harvey in west Houston on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017. More than 17,000 people are seeking refuge in Texas shelters, the American Red Cross said. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)


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