Facebook Safety Check is a feature that allows you to tell your friends on Facebook that you’re safe when you’re near a natural disaster. Users can check notifications, mark themselves safe and see if their friends are safe too.
However there was quite a reaction from users on Facebook and why the social media site decided to enable Safety Check for the attacks on Paris where more than 120 people were killed, but not for a deadly bombing in Beirut where over 40 died. In a blog post, Facebook explained that this feature has been used only for natural disasters, while after the Paris attack, the company decided to activate it for more human disasters going forward as well.
Mark Zuckerberg said people were right to ask about the discrepancy, adding, We care about all people equally, and we will work hard to help people suffering in as many of these situations as we can.
The post was a comment on his change of profile picture to one in which the colors of the French flag are overlaid across his photograph. Facebook implemented this tool to allow users to show solidarity with the people of Paris.
Facebook’s vice president of growth, Alex Schultz said that it’s the first time that the company has enabled Safety Check for anything other than a natural disaster. “Facebook became a place where people were sharing information and looking to understand the condition of their loved ones.”
The Verge quotes Shultz saying that “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.'”