Facebook apologies over Safety Check blunder

Facebook users miles away from the Lahore terror attacks received automated safety message

Tags: Facebook Incorporation
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Facebook apologies over Safety Check blunder Facebook’s Safety Check feature was launched in 2014 where it was designed with the intent for users to inform their Facebook friends and family that they were safe after a natural disaster (Getty Images)
By  Aasha Bodhani Published  March 28, 2016

After a terrorist attack in Lahore in Pakistan on Sunday, which killed around 65people and injured over 300, Facebook's Safety Check tool suffered a glitch, which made the feature contact people as far away as the UK and US.

However, when Facebook activated the tool after Lahore's terror attack, some Facebook users around the world received vague messages on their mobile phones which failed to mention where the explosion took place:

It read: "Facebook Safety Check: Are you affected by the explosion? Reply SAFE if you're ok or OUT if you aren't in the area."

However, other users received specific messages which read: "Are you OK? It looks like you're in the area affected by The Explosion in Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park, Lahore, Pakistan. Let your friends know that you're safe."

Though Facebook did not specify what caused the glitch, the social networking site apologised and said in a statement: "We activated Safety Check today in Lahore, Pakistan, after a bombing that took place there. Unfortunately, many people not affected by the crisis received a notification asking if they were okay. We worked to resolve the issue and we apologise to anyone who mistakenly received the notification."

Facebook's Safety Check feature was first launched in 2014, and it was designed with the intent for users to inform their Facebook friends and family that they were safe after a natural disaster, such as an earthquake or flood.

However, Facebook activated the tool after the Paris terrorist attacks in November, which was the first time the Safety Check was used for anything other than a natural disaster. Facebook again activated the tool after the terrorist attacks in Brussels last week.

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