Facebook opens up disaster safety tool for users

Safety check feature can now be turned on by community members

Gulf News

Dubai: A Facebook tool that allowed users to quickly signal that they are safe after a disaster or terror attack has now been handed over to users of the social media platform.

The tool, Safety Check, was rolled out after the Japanese tsunami in 2011 to help people connect during natural disasters.

With the new update, the service can now be activated “organically” by the Facebook community, instead of by the California-based giant’s team.

Facebook turned on the tool during the Paris attacks in November 2015, marking the first time the feature was activated for a non-natural disaster.

So far this year, the notifications have reached one billion people.

The Safety Check feature works by detecting the locations of users, and asking them whether they are safe. If yes, their profile will then show that they are safe. The tool also allows users to check on a list of friends who may be caught up in a disaster.

Facebook claims that it has more than 136 million active users in the Middle East and North Africa region.