Facebook Again Criticized For Being Biased In Using Safety Check

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Facebook did not mobilize its Safety Check tool for the massacre at an Ivory Coast beach resort, but it did mobilize the tool during this week’s deadly bombing in Turkey, attracting large criticism from users. The social media giant’s Safety Check tool lets people who are near a natural disaster or terror attack “check in” with their friends and family to let them know they are fine.

Facebook safety step draws criticism

Facebook’s Safety Check tool was activated for people in Ankara where 37 people were killed in a car bomb, posted Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg on her page.

“Saddened by the horrific bombing in Ankara,” she wrote. Sandberg wrote that the people who were in the area can mark themselves safe and, “I am thinking of everyone caught up in this violence. It is never the answer.”

Now many are asking why the tool was not available for people near the beach resort in Grand Bassam where 16 people were killed by terrorist gunmen the same day.

One user expressed his anger saying, “A terrorist attack happened in my country Ivory Coast as well! You have to activate that Safety Check wherever these terrorist attacks happened.”

Not the first time

Facebook created the safety tool after the 2011 tsunami in Japan and has activated it a couple of times, usually after a natural disaster. The social media giant was censured due to its selective use of the Safety Check tool in the past. It activated the tool in November during the Paris terror attacks in which more than 130 innocent people lost their lives, but the tech giant didn’t launch the tool for Beirut, Lebanon’s capital city, which was hit by suicide bombings that killed 43 people.

Responding to criticism at that time, CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg promised that Facebook would work hard to “help people suffering in as many of these situations as we can.” He said Facebook cares about all people equally.

After the promise, the Safety Check tool was activated for residents of Yola in Nigeria when, in a suspected attack by the militant group Boko Haram, 30 people lost their lives. But again it was not activated after deadly explosions in Jakarta earlier this year.

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