Facebook Stretches Arms of Care Through the Safety Check

On March 11, 2011, at 2:46 p.m. local time, a magnitude-9.0 earthquake ruptured a 500-kilometer-long fault zone off the northeast coast of Japan. The Japanese red-cross recorded about 12.5 million people affected nationwide and 400,000 people displaced. People turned to social media for communication, to check on loved ones, to stay connected somehow.


Facebook engineers actually took measures in trying to establish a connection link between victims of the disaster location and those not within the particular geographical region. The Disaster Message board was built to enhance communication and reconnections. This program was actually launched a year later with high degree feasibility-it had a welcoming response.

See also: When You Cannot Turn-Down a Friend Request on Facebook

People turn to Facebook to check on loved ones and get updates in times of disaster. People outside the affected areas even feel almost the same tensions as those directly affected, anxieties, and communication becomes critical for all parties. Facebook has actually developed a helpful tool that people can turn to during disaster periods. It’s the ‘Safety Check’. It’s a way to check if those persons within the affected region are safe. It answers questions like:

  • Are my friends or family as the case may be safe?

  • How are my friends in the affected area?

  • And also you can mark your friends safe!

Your friends on Facebook would be the ones that would get to see your safety status.

facebook safety

By Naomi Gleit, VP of Product Management, Sharon Zeng, Product Manager & Peter Cottle, Software Engineer

So far Facebook has taken note of how people use the social network during such situations. This had continually fuelled them to work on the Disaster Message Board even almost at a faster pace. The team have resolved to create a tool that would be conveniently easy for people to use when it matters most to connect to friends and loved ones. The project which is now Safety check would soon be made available on Android iOS, phones and Desktops on a global scale.

Working principle:

Facebook Safety

  • You would receive Facebook notification asking if you are safe when the tool is activated after a natural disaster.

  • Your location would be determined looking at the location

  • Your location would be determined looking at the location you have put on your profile. Your last location if you’ve opted in to the Nearby Friends product, and the city where you are using the internet.

  • You can mark that you’re outside the affected area, if you are not in the profile location.

  • If you’re safe, you can select “I’m Safe” and a notification and News Feed story will be generated with your update. Your friends can also mark you as safe.

 facebook safety featur

You would also receive notification about friends that have marked themselves as safe who are within the jurisdiction of the disaster. Clicking on this notification will take you to the Safety Check bookmark that will show you a list of their updates.

This tool sure holds a lot of hope to help if anyone finds himself in that anxious situation in knowing that his loved ones and friends are safe.

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