Users can launch Facebook’s crisis reponse ‘Safety Check’

New York, Nov 18: Facebook will now allow its 1.2 billion users to automatically launch its crisis response tool, “Safety Check”.

According to a report by cnet.com on Thursday, this change will allow the community to decide the urgency of the nearby danger, something Facebook has struggled to grasp.

In the areas of immediate danger, Safety Check allows people to notify their family and friends that they are safe. This feature of Facebook has been used during natural calamities and terrorists attacks across world.

“When Facebook had control of Safety Check, it had a high standard of what counted as a disaster. A typhoon in the Philippines might have six inches of water in your house, and in California, that’d be a big deal. But in the Philippines, we did research there, and people said this wasn’t a big deal,” cnet.com quoted Peter Cottle, Facebook’s lead engineer on crisis response.

“In the past two years, Facebook turned on Safety Check 39 times. Compare that to 335 dangerous events flagged by its community-based Safety Check tool since the company began testing it in June. One of the first instances of a community-generated Safety Check was the Orlando nightclub shooting in June,” the report said.

Facebook considers an event as not being an emergency if the users ignore the Safety Check, which then fades itself.

“We can tell how many people are spreading this and marking themselves safe, and how quickly it’s growing. There’s a real strong measure of urgency based on the rapidness of the people who are using the tool,” Cotte said.

However, Facebook has been criticised for being selective when it comes to launching Safety Check tool during a crisis.

In November 2015, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had responded with a facebook post saying, “”We care about all people equally, and we will work hard to help people suffering in as many of these situations as we can.”

Reports said that Facebook was also testing out a Community Help page that “users can access after checking in as safe. There, users can post if they need shelter, food or supplies, or if they can provide any of those resources”.

The Community Help feature is expected to be available by January 2017.

— IANS

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