Facebook's Safety Check to be expanded following Paris attacks
Move comes in response to criticism that feature was not enabled for other crisis situations
Facebook will enable its Safety Check feature more regularly in response to emergency situations around the world, the company announced this week.
The move comes in response to criticism that the social network received in the wake of last week's Paris terror attacks, which killed more than 130 people. Facebook enabled Safety Check for that situation, but was lambasted for not enabling it in response to the bombings that took place a day before in Beirut, Lebanon, which saw more than 40 people killed.
And while the criticism was heaviest from those affected by the Beirut crisis, many others also pointed out that terror attacks and natural disasters happen regularly, and that Facebook has a responsibility to enable Safety Check for those events, too.
Safety Check is still in its early days, and was first rolled out in October last year. It allows Facebook users to ‘check in' as safe if they are in an area experiencing a disaster. Once someone has checked in as safe, their friends are given a notification saying that the user is safe. It has only been activated a handful of times since it was launched. The social network this week vowed that it would now be rolling the feature out more frequently in times of crisis.
"Many people have rightfully asked why we turned on Safety Check for Paris but not for bombings in Beirut and other places," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted on his official Facebook account on Saturday.
"Until yesterday, our policy was only to activate Safety Check for natural disasters. We just changed this and now plan to activate Safety Check for more human disasters going forward as well."