Facebook expands Safety Check in wake of #parisattacks

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Facebook originally planned for its Safety Check feature to only be activated after a natural disaster, but on Friday night the social media giant decided to flip the switch after the attacks in Paris.

Now Facebook says it will activate the feature for every other “human disaster”.

“Until yesterday, our policy was only to activate Safety Check for natural disasters. We just changed this and now plan to activate Safety Check for more human disasters going forward as well,” founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on Saturday.

Many people have asked why the company only now engaged it for Paris, but not for the any other human disaster in the past.

“We chose to activate Safety Check in Paris because we observed a lot of activity on Facebook as the events were unfolding. We talked with our employees on the ground, who felt that there was still a need that we could fill. So we made the decision to try something we’ve never done before: activating Safety Check for something other than a natural disaster,” explained Alex Schultz, Vice President of Facebook’s Growth.

“There has to be a first time for trying something new, even in complex and sensitive times, and for us that was Paris.”

He added that Safety Check can’t really be enabled for war zones, as there is no exact point as to when it is actually safe.

“During an ongoing crisis, like war or epidemic, Safety Check in its current form is not that useful for people: because there isn’t a clear start or end point and, unfortunately, it’s impossible to know when someone is truly safe.”

[Image – CC by 2.0/Moyan Brenn]

Charlie Fripp

Charlie Fripp

Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.