What is Safety Check?
Safety Check is a feature introduced and managed by Facebook. The feature is activated by the company during natural or man-made disasters and terror-related incidents to quickly determine whether people in the affected geographical area are safe.
Facebook is now giving its “Safety Check” feature a permanent home in its app and on the desktop, the company announced yesterday. The feature, which lets you check to see whether friends and family are safe following a crisis, will now have its own dedicated button in the app’s navigation menu and will be available via the Facebook website on the desktop.
The change comes following new terrorist attacks, including one in Barcelona, where a vehicle was driven into a crowd, as well as the attack in Charlottesville, here in the U.S.
According to Facebook, the dedicated button is gradually rolling out to users, and will complete over the next few weeks. That means you may not see the option right away, but you will soon.
Safety Check has been given increased attention this year, with a series of updates that have included additions like a “Community Help” option that allows locals to offer assistance and supplies to affected people following a crisis or disaster.
In June, Safety Check integrated fundraisers, as well. This arrived along with other upgrades like crisis descriptions to help people better understand the situation, and new sharing options that let people tell their own stories, rather than just marking themselves as “safe.
When Safety Check is accessed by way of the new button, you’ll be able to view a feed of disasters, updates from friends who marked themselves as safe and offers of help. An “around the world” section will display where Safety Check has been recently enabled.
Safety Check has faced some criticism due to its overreach. That is, people are often alerted to tragedies that are taking place miles away, or even further, from their current location. This in turn creates additional stress from a feature whose original purpose was to reduce it.
You could call it a commentary on the state of the world that Facebook sees enough reason to make Safety Check a fixture of its site — it means that natural disasters, terrorism and conflict are frequent enough that the on-demand approach might not be enough. At the same time, it’s good to know that you can seek (or offer) help whenever you want, not just in special circumstances.
Read more about it here: https://www.facebook.com/about/safetycheck/