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Facebook Turns on Safety Check after Lahore Blast

by Manahil Zafar

Many not affected also receive notification, social media giant apologizes.

Facebook’s Safety Check tool allows you to make and get updates from friends and family on the social networking site in the wake of a disaster or any crisis. In such circumstances telephone lines often get strained, so the social media giant sets the way to update one’s safety.

Ever since its launch in October 2014, the Safety Check tool has been turned on multiple times by Facebook with the most recent after a bomb blast in Lahore, Pakistan which claimed lives of over 70 people including women and children on March 27.

The tool provides the following features: You can let your added friends and family know you are safe. You can check on others in the area that has been affected, and you can also mark your friends as safe so the information spread is massive and quick.

On Sunday many Facebook users in Pakistan were able to log in during the aftermath of the blast to let their loved ones know that they were safe.

A post on Disaster Response on Facebook page reads “We activated Safety Check today in Lahore, Pakistan, after an explosion that took place there. We hope the people in the area of the bombing find Safety Check a useful and helpful way to let their friends and family know they are okay.”

In Pakistan the tool has been used in the 2015 earthquake. After the earthquake phone signals had gone, but people who were able to use data and Wi-Fi to get online and established a way to contact their loved ones with this tool till phone connections were restored.

The Safety Check has been mainly used for natural disasters, an example being Nepal during the May 2015 earthquake. But it was first used in Paris as non-natural disaster in the wake of the shootings.

However many people who received Safety Check notifications despite hundreds of miles away from Lahore reacted about the same on different online networks particularly on Twitter.

It was therefore Facebook also extended an apology with a note: “Unfortunately, many people not affected by the crisis received a notification asking if they were okay. This kind of bug is counter to our intent. We worked quickly to resolve the issue and we apologize to anyone who mistakenly received the notification.”

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