In the wake of the tragic Brussels terrorist attacks, Facebook has activated their “Safety Check” feature.
First introduced in October 2014, Facebook’s Safety Check is a means by which users can let their friends and family know that they’re safe, check on anyone that might be in the affected area, and mark people as confirmed safe once they know things are all right.
Safety Check has its origins as a response to the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japan. While it started as a tool for natural disasters, after the Paris terrorist attacks in 2015 Mark Zuckerberg expressed his intent to utilize the system for the “many other important conflicts in the world.” Paris was the first time it was used beyond the scope of its original intent, but Facebook now has criteria based on the “scope, scale, and impact” on when to activate Safety Check.
Nevertheless, the social network has been the object of some criticism regarding the use of Safety Check. This morning, The Independent complained about the sluggish activation of the service in the crucial hours immediately following the Brussels attacks, “despite repeated requests” for its use.
Affected users should now be able to confirm their safety, and that of their loved ones, during the aftermath of the Brussels attack.
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