The HHS agency is sponsoring the “Lifeline Facebook App Challenge” aimed at inducing “multidisciplinary teams of technology developers, entrepreneurs, and members of the disaster preparedness, response and recovery communities” to come up with disaster-relief applications for the platform.
HHS is asking that the new applications provide individuals with "actionable steps … to increase their own personal preparedness and strengthen connections within their social networks for the sake of personal preparedness and community resilience.” The HHS challenge also aims to “provide useful tools for public health promotion and protection.”
The challenge has a few rules: One is that the new applications that enable a user to invite three Facebook friends to become “Lifelines,” acting as contacts and sources of support during disasters. Developers who enter also are encouraged "to creatively leverage Facebook's existing networking and geo-locating capabilities to enhance the apps' ability to increase personal preparedness, locate potential disaster victims, and streamline information sharing among social networks during disasters,” the rules state.
Submissions will be accepted beginning Aug. 15 through one minute before midnight on Sept. 15. Prizes are $10,000 for first place, $5,000 for second place and $1,000 for third place. Each entrant will retain all intellectual property rights to their applications.