Facebook’s Safety Check tool malfunctioned after it was activated to allow people to confirm their safety following the deadly terrorist attack in Lahore, Pakistan on Sunday.
The tool normally sends an automatic message to those within a radius of an affected zone asking the user if they are safe. Once a user confirms their safety, the tool notifies their Facebook friends of this.
However, after a suicide bomber killed 70 and injured over 300 others at a park in Lahore, some Facebook users in the US and UK were left confused after receiving a notification that said: “Are you OK? It looks like you’re in the area affected by The Explosion in Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park, Lahore, Pakistan. Let your friends know that you’re safe.”
Facebook soon issued an apology to users over the glitch. “We activated Safety Check today in Lahore, Pakistan, after a bombing that took place there,” a Facebook spokesman said in a statement. “Unfortunately, many people not affected by the crisis received a notification asking if they were okay. We worked to resolve the issue and we apologise to anyone who mistakenly received the notification.”
The feature was also activated recently after an Islamist inspired attack in Brussels. It has become a prominent feature on social media as a response to crises.
Safety Check was used for the first time as a response to terrorism after the Paris attacks in November. Previously, it had only been used after natural disasters.