October 17, 2014

Facebook Safety Check: Connect with Friends and Loved Ones During a Disaster

Facebook Safety Check - at first, it sounds like a privacy feature of sorts, but it's far from that. After an earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in 2011, a team of Facebook engineers worked on a system that allowed friends and family to check in with their loved ones and make sure that they were doing alright. Now, Facebook is releasing this feature to everyone.

If you happen to be involved in a natural disaster - or happen to be near one, Facebook will push a notification to you asking you to let your friends know you're safe. To determine your location, Facebook pulls some information from your profile - your current location. If they can't find it, because it's not listed, it'll also check where you last logged in from.

The new Crisis Centre will let you update your friends on your status - "I'm Safe" or "I'm not in the area". It'll also tell you which of your friends are also in the area, which in turn updates you on how they're doing.

Here's a short video from Facebook to show how it's used: