In the past decade, there have been a lot of natural calamities and disasters. Whenever such calamities have occurred, people often referred to Facebook for getting information about the safety of their loved ones and friends. During such times, the maintenance of proper communication is crucial for the safety of those who are affected.
Facebook decided to leverage the power of social media to allow people to communicate and stay in touch with their friends and families during such dire circumstances. The result of the efforts of this social networking giant is “Safety Check” which performs three crucial functions:
- It lets your family and friends know about your safety
- It allows you to check the safety of your friends in the affected areas.
- It allows you to mark your friends as “safe”
If you are thinking about possible breaches in privacy of the user, then you can be assured that the safety status(es) and comments shared by you would only be visible to your friends and would not be made public under any condition.
Disasters such as the infamous Earthquake in Japan which occurred in 2011, have been the foundations for the development of the “Safety Check” tool. This particular earthquake affected more than 12.5 million across the nation and approximately 400,000 people were evacuated. During this emergency, technology played a vital role in ensuring the safety of the people. People managed to stay connected with their close ones by accessing social media.
Everyone seems to turn to Facebook in the aftermath of a major natural disaster. The team at Facebook started developing a simple and easy to use tool that allowed people to connect and stay in touch when conditions were dire. This tool would soon be made available globally on Android, iOS, feature phones and desktop. With such large number of platforms being targeted, it would be possible for people to stay in touch regardless of the device that they are using, with an assurance that their comments and posts would be seen only by their friends and family.
How Does It Work?
- When the tool is activated (post disaster), you would receive a notification from Facebook asking for confirmation of your safety.
- The location is determined by triangulating data from the location mentioned in your profile, the location (according to the IP address of the city where you are accessing the internet), and the last location (determined by the use of “Nearby Friends” feature).
- In case the location is incorrect, then you can always mention that you are out of the affected area.
- By selecting “I’m Safe”, you would be able to send an update along with a notification and a news feed story. Alternatively, your friends also have the power to mark you as safe.
- If you have any friends in the area of the disaster, then you will receive a notification about friends that have been marked as safe. However, this feature would only work when the “Safety Check” tool has been activated. Upon clicking this notification, you would be redirected to a Safety Check Bookmark where you would be able to see all of the updates and comments made by them.
The effectiveness of this tool is yet to be checked in a real world scenario, but it should perform nicely. This tool has been the outcome of a lot of research and analysis of the ways in which social media is used during dire situations. Let’s hope that this initiative by Facebook can help people to stay out of danger during calamities and disasters.
Check out the following video for a better understanding of this amazing tool.
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