Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) plans to launch Safety Check tool that enables users to alert friends and family they are safe in the case of disaster. This tool works when Facebook determines whether a user is located in an area disaster struck and sends the user a notification asking if the user is safe. When the user selects “I’m safe”, the website create a post and share it on the news feed.

Facebook safety tool

How the Safety Check tool works

The social media giant determines a user’s location by looking at the city or town listed on their profile as well as their first location opted in Nearby Friends, and the city they are using the internet in. If Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) gets the location wrong, users still have the option to tell Safety Check they are not in the disaster area.

The Safety Check feature was first created in 2011 after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. As another way to make things easier to communicate, Japan’s engineers also created a disaster message board.

During a recent visit to Tokyo, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg helped launch the service in Japan. He summed it up in a message on his Facebook page, “It’s meaningful to be in Tokyo to announce this because the great earthquake and tsunami a few years ago inspired us to build the first version of this for Japan.”

Facebook users already use the website for alerting loved ones in disasters

Many people already use Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) to communicate with family and friends after natural disasters, so it was only a matter of time until the social media giant took notice and created something to help users. The new tool will soon be available worldwide on computers and mobile devices. It will also be available in basic feature phones for users in developing countries.

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) already launched something similar called Person Finder which enables users to provide information about their safety to loved ones.