Home Facebook Introduces Safety Check For Disaster Victims

Facebook Introduces Safety Check For Disaster Victims

Facebook Safety Check

Disaster has struck in your area, and you’d like to tell friends and family you’re OK but the cell phone towers are jammed. On Thursday, Facebook unveiled another solution.

Safety Check is a Facebook app designed to help people communicate in the event of a disaster. The app will use your GPS to determine if your location is affected, give you a one-click option to let people know you’re OK, and help you check on everyone else, too.

See also: Boston Marathon Explosions — A ‘Live-Tweeted Disaster’

When disaster strikes, people have been increasingly turning to social media, and especially Facebook, to regroup and reconnect. This January, people affected by an Atlanta snowstorm used a Facebook group to connect stranded motorists to rescuers. During the 2010 Haiti earthquake, people mentioned the event on Facebook at a rate of 1,500 updates per minute.

After witnessing grassroot disaster response on its platform, Facebook made its first corporate effort in 2011 after the Japanese tsunami and Fukushima nuclear incident. Engineers built Disaster Message Board to help those affected communicate.

“We see people, relief organizations and first responders turn to Facebook in the aftermath of a major natural disaster,” a Facebook spokesperson blogged.

“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.”

Safety check is now universally available on iOS and Android. 

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