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Facebook announces update to Safety Check

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In the face of worldwide rancour after President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning immigrants of certain countries from entering the United States (US), Facebook has announced an update to Safety Check.

“Today we’re announcing an update to Safety Check, called Community Help, that lets people find and give help such as food, shelter and transportation after a crisis,” Naomi Gleit, Vice President of Social Good at Facebook said in a blog post.

Facebook said its community is positioned to teaching new ways to use the social media platform.

“We saw people using Facebook to tell friends and family they were OK after crises, so in 2014 we launched Safety Check to make that behavior even easier,” Naomi said, adding that “we can do more to empower the community to help one another,” and that “With Community Help people can find and give help, and message others directly to connect after a crisis”.

Facebook said the Community Help update is available for natural and accidental incidents, such as an earthquake or building fire for Facebook users in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and Saudi Arabia only.

The social media giant said the update will be available the aforementioned countries for the first couple of weeks after rolling out the update, adding that “as we learn more about how people use the product, we will look to improve it and make it available for all countries and additional types of incidents”.

For the community to use Community Help after an incident, Safety Check must first be activated. For Safety Check to activate, two things need to happen:

  • First, global crisis reporting agencies NC4 and iJET International alert Facebook that an incident has occurred and give it a title, and we begin monitoring for posts about the incident in the area.
  • Second, if a lot of people are talking about the incident, they may be prompted to mark themselves safe, and invite others to do the same.
  • And starting today, if an incident is a natural or accidental disaster, people will see Community Help. They can find or give help, and message others directly to connect from within Safety Check.

“With every activation, we are continuing to learn how to make Safety Check and features like Community Help better for people in need.

“We will continue listening to feedback to make the tool more useful and relevant in the future,” Naomi concluded.

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