Nepal Earthquake: Facebook Inc Offers Safety Check Feature

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Facebook’s Safety Check feature passed the test successfully again when an earthquake of 7.8 magnitude hit Nepal early Saturday. The safety feature introduced by the social networking site allows a user to convey that he/she is safe in case of any natural disaster occurring around them.

Facebook’s safety feature deserves praise

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a posting on Saturday that during a disaster, people want to know the status of their loved ones who are present at or in the vicinity of the affected area. He added, “It’s moments like this that being able to connect really matters.”

Perhaps this could be the most significant feature of Facebook to date. Using the security feature is simple on Facebook, as the users in neighborhood of the disaster will get a notification inquiring if they are safe. Facebook will read their location on the basis of the user’s residential address, his recent visits and recent use of the Internet. Then of the options given, a user can select “I’m Safe” or “I’m not in the affected area.” Once the answer is selected, it will show in the News Feed of the user.

Similarly, if one has to ensure that their friends are secure, then he/she can just land on the designated Safety Check page. The page will tell how many of the user’s friends are in the affected area and whether everyone is safe. The Facebook feature also tells about those friends in the area who are not marked as safe.

What inspired Facebook?

Facebook came up with the Safety Check feature after Japan was hit by a tsunami in 2011. At the time of launching the feature last year, the social network suggested that during the crisis, people used technology and social media to keep in touch with their near and dear ones.

A few months after the Japan crisis, Facebook entered into a partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to send AMBER Alerts to the Facebook community to help find missing children. In March, Safety Check was once again put to the test after Cyclone Pam hit the southern Pacific. Facebook announced that it helped more than a quarter of a million people to know their loved ones are safe.

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