Based on my friends who marked themselves as “safe” the feature appears to have been active as early as 11:30am EDT, but may have been activated earlier. You can see the page and check on the status of your own friends by clicking here.
For the second time in less than one week Facebook has activated the network’s Safety Check feature.
The last activation was on 11/13 for the Paris Terrorist Attacks.
After the Paris attacks last week, we made the decision to use Safety Check for more tragic events like this going forward. We’re now working quickly to develop criteria for the new policy and determine when and how this service can be most useful.
-Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday, November 17, 2015
I’m glad to see Facebook recognizing that Safety Check is actually an asset and spending time on further developing it as well as the criteria for its deployment. I hope they either release what that criteria will be or reach out to the Emergency Management community to see what they should focus on.
While I could hope that it would be used on a more granular level for localized events, I realize that right now it will only be truly useful for high-level events. With over 1.5 billion reported active users, Facebook has truly become a global entity despite the localization of our news feeds.
At just over a year old, Facebook Safety Check was originally trumpeted as a tool for natural disasters. The use of it during a terrorist attack as vast as this still only appears to be is a natural evolution of the product.
The only drawback to this toolset is it seems to depend on Facebook for deployment. I would really like to see the set of criteria an event needs to meet in order for it to be activated. I think that the other social networks would benefit from developing either similar systems or… and here’s a novel idea… maybe they could all work together on one “I’m Safe” check-in system.
Although there has been a lot of talk and hype regarding a decline in both usage and users, Facebook remains as a common place that people turn to in times of disaster to check on loved ones whether they have been active or dormant on the network. With this in mind they have launched a new feature called “Safety Check“ for all users.
During a major disaster, Safety Check will help you:
- Let friends and family know you’re safe
- Check on others in the affected area
- Mark your friends as safe
Only your friends will see your safety status and the comments you share.
Check out the video…
This is really the kind of toolset that we like to see Social Networks create. It’s fundamentally simplistic, solves a problem, and does so with a minimal barrier to entry. The only real caveat here is whether or not you have internet service in the disaster area.
Despite the privacy issues, data collection, and general creepiness the social network offers regularly this kind of occasional feature provides a real value… just so long as you don’t mind sharing your location with said creepers….