On Wednesday, Facebook announced a new tool, Safety Check, designed to automatically allow users to connect with friends and family when a major disaster strikes
Recent global events have shown the effectiveness of social media as a means to communicate in times of crisis. Many people have found that the traditional channels struggle to keep up with the panic that often comes after a major disaster like a hurricane or flood and have turned to social media as the most effective means to say “I’m OK.” Now Facebook aims to make that process even easier with Safety Check.
After the 2011 earthquake and tsunamis in Japan, Facebook’s engineers realized the importance of social media in providing victims a means to communicate, and they quickly established the Disaster Message Board. The response was overwhelming and Facebook began working to expand the service and improve the process. Safety Check is the result of 3 years of development. Safety Check will let friends know you are safe, allow you to check in on an affected area, and allow you to mark your friends as safe.
Here is how it works:
The tool will be automatically activated in an area affected by a natural disaster. Based on location information obtained from their profile and usage, users in the affected area will automatically get a notification asking if they are safe. It will then automatically post to your New Feed that you are OK (friends may also mark you as safe). The tool will also activate if you have friends in an affected area and will provide a list detailing their activity. Only your friends will be able to see your safety status and activity.
Have you, or any family or friends, turned to social media to connect in a time of crisis? If so, we’d love to hear about your experiences. Let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook, Google+, or Twitter!Source: Facebook