Facebook to launch safety check feature for ‘more human disasters’

16 Nov

Following the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday 13th November, Mark Zuckerberg has released a statement saying the Safety Check feature will now be turned on in future humanitarian disasters. The feature has previously only been turned on for natural disasters, such as earthquakes, but Facebook switched it on for a human tragedy for the first time on Friday.

How Safety Check works

The world watched as news broke about the horrific shootings and bombings in Paris at the weekend, but Facebook reacted in such a way that allowed 4 million users to get news of their safety to family and friends with one simple click.

The feature works by using your location, if it recognises you’re near a disaster or trouble it will ask you if you’re safe. Once you click OK and mark yourself as safe, a notification is sent to friends and families worldwide to let them know you’re alright, and lastly the Safety Check allows you to check on others and shows you a checklist of friends who have marked themselves safe.

The change sparked debate

Naturally, Zuckerberg faced criticism for not using the Facebook Safety Check in other humanitarian disasters, but on his Facebook page he said they have changed it to now include humanitarian disasters.


Facebook also launched a temporary French flag filter to place over profile pictures to show support for the victims of the attacks. Social Media responded in an overwhelming way and there has been nothing but thanks from the people of France. The power of the internet clearly shouldn’t be underestimated!

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Natalie Simm
RS Digital

Gareth Owen