‘Safety Check’ is a feature initiated by Facebook on October 16, 2014. During the times of natural disaster, people tend to look to social media to check if their near and dear ones are safe.
This feature automatically maps people who are in or near a disaster site through the city they have listed on their profile or from the location where they are using the internet. For the current disaster at Nepal, Facebook has mapped people from Nepal and the nearby Indian states which have been affected.
With the safety check feature, the Facebook users are prompted to update their safety status. It then generates a notification on the user’s News Feed and informs their Facebook friends if they are safe or in need of help.
Mark Zuckerberg, in a post on the social network yesterday, said “When disasters happen, people need to know if their loved ones are safe. It’s moments like this that being able to connect really matters.”
The earthquake and tsunami at Tokyo in 2011 inspired the social network organisation to build such a feature to help people stay connected during disaster.
For those who are in Nepal or any other affected area in India, this Facebook feature has grown in importance; and more and more people are using it to ensure the safety of their loved ones.
It is being speculated that many in Nepal might not be able to make use of this because of the disruption in communication networks.
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