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Facebook moves into crowdfunding for emergencies

Facebook has introduced a crowdfunding feature to help users back causes such as education, medical needs, pet medical, crisis relief, personal emergencies and funerals.

The new tool, Personal Fundraiser, allows users 18 or older to "raise money for themselves, a friend or someone or something not on Facebook," the social media company said in a blog post on Thursday. The tool will be tested in the U.S. over the next few weeks, and more categories may be added over time, Facebook said.

Users with verified pages, such as public figures, can also add a "donate" button tied to a nonprofit to their Facebook Live videos, the company said.

Personal crowdfunding campaigns have been popularized by sites like GoFundMe. But such campaigns have also run into hurdles, due to a small number of abusive "rip off" campaigns that have gained traction. Facebook said there will be a 24-hour fundraiser review process, and since the fundraisers will be tied to real profiles on Facebook, donors will be able to see how they are connected to the person who created the fundraiser.

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has shared broad philanthropic ambitions of his own over the past few years, pledging to give away most of his wealth to causes that advance humanity.