Facebook Quick to Put Some Minds at Ease with the Safety Check Feature

The tragedy that hit Brussels

The tragedy that hit Brussels, Belgium in Europe, after two explosions took place in Zaventem airport and a third on the Maelbeek subway near the European Union headquarters, left Brussels in a state of panic, worry and lockdown. All airplane arrivals at the airport in question have been rerouted to nearby cities, and both the Belgium and France borders have increased security tenfold. 6 hours after the attacks, 34 were confirmed dead and over 170 wounded, sending the entire state into alarm.

Facebook has, however, already given way to their safety check feature that can set your mind at ease about a relative or friend, as long as they allow Facebook to track their movement. Basing on an internet connection or mobile connection, Facebook users can mark themselves safe using this feature, sending mobile push notifications to friends to let them know they are unharmed following grand scale events such as the Brussels attack. Similarly, someone from the outside may check on Facebook friends in the area of attacks via the feature.

This is not the first time that Facebook summons the feature, previously having made use of it during other nationwide tragedies such as the Nepal earthquakes, the terrorist attacks in Paris and floods that took place in India. However, some grunts of disapproval could be heard when Facebook did not enable the feature for the attacks that took place in Beirut and Baghdad.

Facebook’s answer to that was that the feature was originally planned to be used for national events only, but was decided to be pushed to cover for the Paris Terror Attacks in the end. This, by itself, created some displeased responses from people asking just how huge a scale must a disaster be in order to be notified via Facebook.

The original statement that came from Mark Zuckerberg himself, the Facebook CEO, was that the feature was originally only intended for natural disasters, then decided to cover in happenings of the likes too because there are many types of conflicts in the world. Facebook then promised to work hard to help people who are victims of such events as often as they can.

While Facebook has been on point with gathering information from its users living or visiting Brussels at the time of the disasters, there’s no telling if the feature will remain as reliable if the misfortune strikes again in the near future.

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Christopher Hall completed his studies at the California Institute of Technology, Caltech, with a degree in Engineering and Applied Science. That was three years ago. At present he is working as a Computation and Neural Systems engineer in Ontario. He used to write tech reviews and overviews for several small online publications before he joined the ArgyllFreePress team. Christopher is always scouring the internet for fresh tech news and anything related to gadgets, smart-phones, tablets and laptops.