Facebook activates ‘Safety Check’ after Orlando massacre

The tool helps users notify friends about their safety during disasters

Facebook activated its ‘Safety Check’ tool after the killings at an Orlando nightclub early Sunday, making it the first time the service was used in the U.S.

A gunman opened fire at the nightclub, killing at least 50 people in what President Barack Obama said was being investigated as an “act of terrorism.”

Facebook’s tool, launched in 2014, helps users in the vicinity of a disaster alert family and friends about their safety. The tool asks users determined to be in the affected area if they are safe and they can then notify their friends about their safety with the click of a button.

Facebook said it has over the last few months both improved the launch process to make it easier and quicker to activate the tool, while also testing ways to let users identify and elevate local crises. It has, for example, automated the deployment of the tool so that trained teams across time zones can activate the tool at any time, rather than wait for an engineer to do it.

“Following the community-generated Safety Check activation this morning in Orlando, we have now activated Facebook-initiated Safety Check for a mass shooting at a nightclub there. We hope the people in the area find the tool a helpful way to let their friends and family know they are okay,” a spokeswoman for the social networking company said on Sunday.

Between January and May this year, Facebook activated Safety Check 17 times compared to 11 instances in the previous two years. The recent disasters for which the tool was activated ranged from earthquakes in Ecuador, wildfire in Alberta, Canada, to a cyclone in Bangladesh and flooding and landslides in Sri Lanka.

Facebook has broadened the list of disasters for which it activates Safety Check to include terror attacks, starting with the Paris attacks in November last year. The company decided to use the tool in a terror attack for the first time in Paris after it was observed that “Facebook became a place where people were sharing information and looking to understand the condition of their loved ones,” according to a company post at the time. Before that, the tool was only activated for natural disasters.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Facebook

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?