Facebook’s new notification feature called Safety Check is a useful and simple way to announce your whereabouts to friends and family during a natural disaster so they know your’e safe. These days, many people rely on social media to reach friends and family during hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes and all types of disasters.
More so than ever, the first thing people do at a time of stress is flock to Facebook to check on their friends pages to check for updates instead of calling. Facebook engineers in Japan created the Disaster Message Board following the 2011 earthquake and subsequent tsunami which resulted in the The Safety Check feature being brought to life.
Here’s how it works:
If you are considered to be in an affected area, whether that be in a hurricane zone, tornado path or tsunami warning etc., by knowing your location based on your Facebook information and where you are currently accessing internet from, the feature will be automatically activated and Facebook will send an alert or push notification asking if you are okay.
Once you have received the alert, you’ll be prompted to check the “I’m Safe” button which not only sends a notification to friends and family but will also appear in your friends’ newsfeeds. Also, there will be a central page where you can check on all of the people you haven’t heard from yet to see their current status. Plus, a great addition to this feature allows you to check in other people if you know they’re safe as well.
“[T]hese kinds of disasters happen all too frequently. Each time, we see people, relief organizations and first responders turn to Facebook in the aftermath of a major natural disaster,” says Facebook. “These events have taught us a lot about how people use Facebook during disasters and we were personally inspired to continue work on the Disaster Message Board to incorporate what we’ve learned. This project soon became Safety Check.”
Hopefully this feature will be a more effective way to keep track of people in the event of a disaster since social media seems to be what people will most likely turn to during an emergency if all else fails. Mark Zuckerberg released this powerful statement on his Facebook page today.
We can all hope that we won’t have to use the feature too often, but in case of a natural disaster it is comforting to know that Facebook will provide us a quick and easy way to find important information during a time of need.
If you’d like to see exactly how this feature works, watch the short video below to learn more:
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