Facebook Safety Check is a feature managed by social networking company Facebook. The feature is activated by the company during natural or man-made disasters to quickly determine whether people in the affected geographical area are safe.[1]

Contents

HistoryEdit

ReleaseEdit

The feature was developed by Facebook engineers, inspired by people's use of social media to connect with friends and family in the wake of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.[2][3] Originally named the Disaster Message Board, it was renamed to Safety Check prior to release.[2] It was introduced on October 15, 2014.[4][5] Its first major deployment was on Saturday, April 25, 2015, in the wake of the April 2015 Nepal earthquake.[6] The tool was deployed again in the wake of the May 2015 Nepal earthquake,[7] during Pacific Hurricane Patricia in October 2015, and during the November 2015 Paris attacks, the latter being the first time the tool was used in response to a non-natural disaster.[8] On March 22, 2016, during reports of explosions at an airport and train station in Brussels, the feature was turned on again, but there was a delay in turning it on after it was revealed it was a suicide bomber attack.[9]

On June 2, 2016, Facebook announced that it would start experimenting with community-activated Safety Checks. With the new system, Safety Check would be activated based on combination of a certain number of people posting about a particular crisis plus an alert from one of Facebook’s third-party sources. Users would also be able to share and spread the word about the Safety Check once it was activated. Facebook hoped the changes would lead to more consistent, frequent, and streamlined deployments around the world.[10][11][12]

On February 8, 2017, Facebook introduced a Community Help feature to the Safety Check crisis response tool.[13] It allows users can search through categorized posts, get assistance to from locals nearby and connect with providers over Facebook Messenger.[14]

Deployment in the context of the Nepal earthquakeEdit

Further information: April 2015 Nepal earthquake

On Saturday, April 25, 2015, an earthquake struck Nepal, with an estimated loss of a few thousand lives. Within a few hours of the earthquake hitting, Facebook had activated Safety Check in the region.[6][15] It identified users as possibly being in the affected area by their current city as listed on their profile, as well as the place from which they had most recently accessed Facebook.[16] The desktop version of Safety Check also provided a brief synopsis of the event and emergency contact numbers.[16]

During the activation more than 7 million people in the affected area were marked safe, which generated notifications to over 150 million friends on the platform.[17]

The tool was deployed again in the wake of the May 2015 Nepal earthquake, and received attention when some people outside the affected area were reported by Facebook as marked safe.[7]

Deployment during November Paris attacksEdit

Facebook deployed the feature during November 2015 Paris attacks.[18] This was the first time Facebook activated the feature for a violent attack (or any non-natural disaster), mentioning that the policy for activation and the product itself is an ongoing work in progress.[19]

Other deploymentsEdit

Location Event Reference Notes
Nigeria Boko Haram bombings (late November 2015) [20] Announcing the activation on his Facebook timeline, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote that unfortunately, incidents like this were all too common and he would not announce individual activations of Safety Check in the future. However, he urged people to be optimistic and realize that the frequency of such incidents was going down on the whole.[21]
Chennai, India 2015 South Indian floods [22]
Ankara, Turkey February 2016 Ankara bombing [23]
Ankara, Turkey March 2016 Ankara bombing [24]
Brussels, Belgium 2016 Brussels bombings (March 22, 2016) [25]
Lahore, Pakistan 2016 Lahore bombing [26] Facebook accidentally sent notifications asking whether users were safe to Facebook users around the world, even those who were nowhere near Pakistan.[26]
Orlando area, Florida, United States 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting (June 12, 2016) [27][28] First use in the United States.[27][28]
Antananarivo, Madagascar Explosion in Mahamasina Municipal Stadium, Antananarivo (June 26, 2016) [29]
Istanbul, Turkey 2016 Atatürk Airport attack [30]
Dallas, Texas, United States 2016 shooting of Dallas police officers [31][32]
Nice, France 2016 Nice attack [33]
Munich, Germany 2016 Munich shooting at OEZ (July 22, 2016) [34]
Quetta, Pakistan 8 August 2016 Quetta bombing [35]
Gothenburg, Sweden Hand grenade attack on apartment building that killed an 8-year-old boy (August 22, 2016) [36][37]
Central Italy August 2016 Central Italy earthquake (August 24, 2016) [38]
Tel Aviv, Israel The Building Collapse in Tel Aviv (September 5, 2016) [39][40] Facebook activated it in a small distribution as a pilot in order to expand the feature.
Davao City, Philippines 2016 Davao City bombing (September 3, 2016) [41]
New York City, United States 2016 Chelsea bombing [42]
Hoboken, New Jersey, United States 2016 Hoboken train crash at Hoboken Terminal (September 29, 2016) [43]
Kaikoura, Blenheim, Christchurch, New Zealand. 2016 Kaikoura earthquake (November 13, 2016) [44]
Haifa, Israel November 2016 Israel fires (November 24, 2016) [45] First operational use in Israel.
Columbus, Ohio, United States 2016 Ohio State University attack (November 28, 2016) [46]
Gatlinburg, Tennessee, United States 2016 Wildfire in Gatlinburg area (November 28, 2016) [47]
Oakland, California, United States 2016 Oakland warehouse fire (December 2, 2016) [48]
Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States 10-Alarm fire in residential neighborhood (December 4, 2016) [49]
Chennai, India Cyclone Vardah hits India [50]
Gothenburg, Sweden Hand grenade attack on apartment building (December 15, 2016) [51]
Berlin, Germany 2016 Berlin attack (December 19, 2016) [52]
Jerusalem, Israel January 2017 Jerusalem vehicular attack (January 8, 2017) [53]
Jersey Village, US Jersay Village Texas Tornado (January 16, 2017) [54]
Playa del Carmen, Mexico l’incident violent à Playa del Carmen (January 16, 2017) [55]
Christchurch, New Zealand Port Hills Wildfire (February 13, 2017) [56]
London, United Kingdom 2017 Westminster Attack (March 22, 2017) [57]

ReceptionEdit

Reception upon releaseEdit

Upon the release of Safety Check, Richard Lawler wrote in Engadget praising the tool, writing "[I]t can take some pressure off of overloaded infrastructure with everyone trying to call affected areas after disasters hit, and of course, save you from a post-tragedy chewing out for failure to let people know you're fine." On the flip side, he posited that Safety Check might be "a cagey way to try to take some of the creepiness out of the apps' location tracking features."[3]

Reception of deployment for April 2015 Nepal earthquakeEdit

Commentators praised Facebook Safety Check in the wake of the April 2015 Nepal earthquake[16][58] and compared it to Google Person Finder, a tool by Google with a similar purpose.[59][60][61][62][63] However, commentators noted that due to low penetration of mobile devices and poor network connectivity in the region (which had worsened due to the earthquake), many of the people in the target audience of the tool would not be able to use it.[59][61][63][64] This was likened to similar problems faced by Google Person Finder during the 2010 Pakistan floods.[59][61]

Reception of deployment for May 2015 Nepal earthquakeEdit

After the May 2015 Nepal earthquake, BuzzFeed reported that many users outside the geographical area affected by the earthquake were marking themselves as safe using the tool, and that this was angering other users who thought they were being insensitive to the toll and tragedy of the event.[65] The story was picked up by other publications including the Huffington Post and fact-checking website Snopes, which noted that this was due to a bug in Facebook leading it to prompt people outside the affected area to confirm whether they were safe.[7][66][67][68]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Facebook Safety Check". Facebook. Retrieved April 27, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Chowdhry, Amit (October 16, 2014). "Facebook 'Safety Check' Tells Your Friends That You Are Safe During A Disaster in the Area". Forbes. Retrieved April 27, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Lawler, Richard (October 16, 2014). "Facebook 'Safety Check' lets friends know you're OK after a major disaster". Engadget. Retrieved April 27, 2015. 
  4. ^ Gleit, Naomi; Zeng, Sharon; Cottle, Peter (October 15, 2014). "Introducing Safety Check". Facebook. Retrieved April 27, 2015. 
  5. ^ Zuckerberg, Mark (October 15, 2014). "Today we announced the launch of Safety Check on Facebook.". Facebook. Retrieved April 27, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "Safety Check for Nepal Earthquake". Facebook. Retrieved April 27, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c LaCapria, Kim (May 13, 2015). "Facebook Safety Check Confusion After Nepal Earthquake". Snopes. Archived from the original on May 14, 2015. Retrieved May 14, 2015. 
  8. ^ Pallotta, Frank (November 13, 2015). "Facebook activates 'Safety Check' during Paris attack". CNNMoney. Retrieved November 14, 2015. 
  9. ^ Griffin, Andrew (22 March 2016). "Brussels attacks: Facebook Safety Check activated following deadly explosions at airport and Metro station". The Independent. Retrieved 4 September 2016. 
  10. ^ Cottle, Peter (June 2, 2016). "Safety Check: Streamlining deployment around the world". Facebook. Retrieved June 2, 2016. 
  11. ^ Megan Rose Dickey (June 2, 2016). "Facebook to enable community-activated Safety Check". TechCrunch. Retrieved June 2, 2016. 
  12. ^ Brant, Tom (June 2, 2016). "Facebook Alters Safety Check to Improve Accuracy". PCMag. Retrieved June 2, 2016. 
  13. ^ Alfred Ng (8 February 2017). "Facebook will help you find food and shelter in emergencies". CNET. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  14. ^ Josh Constine (8 February 2017). "Facebook Safety Check now lets locals find and offer Community Help like shelter". TechCrunch. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  15. ^ Zuckerberg, Mark (April 25, 2015). "This morning we activated Safety Check for people affected by the earthquake in Nepal.". Facebook. Retrieved April 27, 2015. 
  16. ^ a b c Levine, Brittany (April 25, 2015). "Facebook Safety Check connects those affected by devastating Nepal earthquake". Mashable. Retrieved April 27, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Mark Zuckerberg – Timeline Photos – Facebook". Facebook. Retrieved 2015-12-08. 
  18. ^ Lily Hay Newman (November 14, 2015). "Facebook Has Enabled Its "Safety Check" Feature So People in Paris Can Tell Loved Ones They're OK". Slate. Retrieved November 14, 2015. 
  19. ^ Alex Schultz (November 14, 2015). "Facebook Safety Page Post". Retrieved November 15, 2015. 
  20. ^ McCormick, Rich (November 18, 2015). "Facebook Safety Check activated again after Nigeria bombing". The Verge. Retrieved December 3, 2015. 
  21. ^ Zuckerberg, Mark (November 18, 2015). "We've activated Safety Check again after the bombing in Nigeria this evening.". Facebook. Retrieved December 3, 2015. 
  22. ^ Iyengar, Rishi (December 2, 2015). "Facebook Has Activated Safety Check in India for the Chennai Floods". Time Magazine. Retrieved December 3, 2015. 
  23. ^ "Facebook Safety Check: Explosion in Ankara, Turkey". Retrieved September 14, 2016. 
  24. ^ "Facebook Safety Check: The Explosion in Ankara, Turkey". Retrieved September 14, 2016. 
  25. ^ David Cohen, Facebook Activates Safety Check for Brussels Bombings, AdWeek (March 22, 2015).
  26. ^ a b Bhuiyan, Johanna (27 March 2016). "Facebook Accidentally Pushes Lahore Safety Check Notification Worldwide". re/code. Retrieved 28 March 2016. 
  27. ^ a b Julie Shapiro, Facebook Activates Safety Check for Orlando Nightclub Shooting, Time (June 12, 2016).
  28. ^ a b Justin Boggs, Facebook activates Safety Check for Orlando residents, WGBA-TV (June 12, 2016).
  29. ^ "Facebook Safety Check: The Explosion in Antananarivo, Madagascar". Retrieved January 27, 2017. 
  30. ^ "Facebook, Atatürk Havalimanı'ndaki saldırıdan sonra 'Güvende misin' butonunu açtı". Retrieved September 14, 2016. 
  31. ^ "Facebook activates safety check feature in Dallas". 2016-07-08. Retrieved 2016-07-08. 
  32. ^ "Facebook Safety Check: The Violent Crime in Dallas, Texas". Retrieved 2016-07-08. 
  33. ^ "Facebook activates Safety Check after truck attack kills dozens in Nice, France". CNET. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  34. ^ "Facebook Safety Check: Munich Germany Shooting". Retrieved 2016-07-22. 
  35. ^ "Pakistan hospital bomb attack kills dozens in Quetta". BBC. 8 August 2016. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  36. ^ Agencies (2016-08-22). "Birmingham schoolboy 'killed in grenade explosion in Sweden'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-08-22. 
  37. ^ "Facebook Safety Check: The Explosion in Gothenburg". Retrieved 2016-08-22. 
  38. ^ Heather Kelly, Mark Zuckerberg headed to Italy after earthquake, CNN Money (August 25, 2016).
  39. ^ "Facebook Safety Check: The Building Collapse in Tel Aviv, Israel". Retrieved January 27, 2017. 
  40. ^ "Facebook Turned On Safety Check For Tel Aviv Building Collapse". Retrieved November 24, 2016. 
  41. ^ "Facebook's 'Safety Check' enabled after Davao blast". Retrieved September 14, 2016. 
  42. ^ James Rogers, Facebook activates Safety Check service after New York City explosion, Fox News (September 18, 2016).
  43. ^ "Facebook Turns on Hoboken Safety Check". NBC New York. September 29, 2016. Retrieved September 29, 2016. 
  44. ^ "Facebook Safety Check: The Earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand". Retrieved January 27, 2017. 
  45. ^ "Facebook Safety Check: The Fires in Haifa, Israel". Retrieved January 27, 2017. 
  46. ^ "Facebook Safety Check: The Violent Incident in Columbus, Ohio". Retrieved January 27, 2017. 
  47. ^ Staff, WVLT. "Facebook activates safety feature for Gatlinburg fire". Retrieved 2016-12-20. 
  48. ^ "Facebook Safety Check activated for Oakland Inferno that killed 9, and left 25 missing". SFGate. Retrieved 2016-12-03. 
  49. ^ "Facebook turns on its 'Safety Check' feature for Cambridge fire - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2016-12-20. 
  50. ^ Singh, Manish. "Facebook enables safety check in India as Cyclone Vardah makes landfall". Mashable. Retrieved 2016-12-20. 
  51. ^ "Explosion i bostadsområde i Göteborg". 
  52. ^ "Facebook Safety Check: The Attack in Berlin, Germany". Facebook. Retrieved 19 December 2016. 
  53. ^ "Facebook Safety Check: The Attack in Jerusalem, Israel". Facebook. Retrieved 8 January 2017. 
  54. ^ "Facebook Safety Check: Jersay Village Texas Tornado". Facebook. Retrieved 16 January 2017. 
  55. ^ "Facebook Safety Check: Playa del Carmen violent crime". Facebook. Retrieved 16 January 2017. 
  56. ^ "Safety Check for The Wildfire in Christchurch, New Zealand". Facebook. Retrieved 22 February 2017. 
  57. ^ "Facebook activates Safety Check following London terror attack as #PrayForLondon trends". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2017-03-22. 
  58. ^ Eadicicco, Lisa (April 26, 2015). "Facebook has a brilliant feature that can help anyone who may be in danger from the Nepal earthquake". Business Insider. Retrieved April 27, 2015. 
  59. ^ a b c Lindsay, Rowena (April 27, 2015). "Facebook Safety Check helps users locate loved ones in Nepal (+video). How social media is changing the face of disaster relief.". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved April 27, 2015. 
  60. ^ "Google's 'Person Finder' and Facebook's 'Safety App' to help locate those stranded in Nepal earthquake". First Post. April 28, 2015. Retrieved April 27, 2015. 
  61. ^ a b c Newman, Lily Hay (April 25, 2015). "After Nepal Earthquake, Facebook and Google Offer Safety Check-In Features". Slate Magazine. Retrieved April 27, 2015. 
  62. ^ "Nepal earthquake: How tech from Facebook to Google can help survivors". Indian Express. April 27, 2015. Retrieved April 27, 2015. 
  63. ^ a b Dewey, Caitlin (April 27, 2015). "How Google and Facebook are finding victims of the Nepal earthquake". Washington Post. Retrieved April 27, 2015. 
  64. ^ Schiavenza, Matt (April 25, 2015). "Updating Facebook to Say 'I'm Safe'. The social network activated its new "Safety Check" service after Saturday's tragic earthquake.". The Atlantic. Retrieved April 27, 2015. 
  65. ^ Warren, Rosalyn (May 13, 2015). "People Living in Britain And America Keep Marking Themselves As "Safe" From Nepal's Earthquakes. "This is social media at its worst."". BuzzFeed. Retrieved May 14, 2015. 
  66. ^ McCormack, Simon (May 13, 2015). "People Are Abusing A Facebook Tool Meant To Help People in Nepal". Huffington Post. Retrieved May 14, 2015. 
  67. ^ Campbell, Scott (May 13, 2015). "Facebook Safety Check: Fury as users who aren't in Nepal mark themselves safe from quake". Express. Retrieved May 14, 2015. 
  68. ^ Bogart, Nicole (May 13, 2015). "Facebook users outside of Nepal criticized for using 'Safety Check' feature". Global News. Retrieved May 14, 2015.