Facebook’s Safety Check Lets Users Know About Friends After Paris Terror Attacks

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Courtesy of Facebook

Facebook managed to put its vast treasure trove of user data to good use after Friday’s tragic terror attacks in Paris: the social network customized its safety check feature to let users know whether their friends and loved ones in Paris are safe. Users can check for the safety of their contacts here.

The safety check was used by 4.1 million people to mark themselves as safe within the first 24 hours after the attacks, according to a Facebook spokesperson. 360 million people were notified that their friends were safe.

Users in the area are being alerted by Facebook’s mobile apps, asking them whether they are safe, and offering to check on any of their friends. The app has also been sending out alerts to anyone who has friends in Paris, and Facebook’s website lets anyone check on the status and whereabouts of their friends as well.

Most people have likely seen Facebook’s safety check for the first time today, but the company actually launched it in response to the Nepal earthquake earlier this year. At the time, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote: “When disasters happen, people need to know their loved ones are safe. It’s moments like this that being able to connect really matters.”

Facebook wasn’t the only tech company to directly reach out to its users in Paris after the terror attacks. AirBnB sent its customers in Paris an email advising them to stay in place and follow the directions from local authorities, and Uber used its app to advise users to “not move unless absolutely necessary.”

Paris-based Twitter users took initiative into their own hands and quickly established a hash tag — #PorteOuverte, which translates to “open door — to open up their homes as temporary shelters to others caught up in the chaos.

Updated 11/14: This post has been updated with data from Facebook about the use of the safety check feature.

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  1. Bradlee says:

    Thank you, Facebook, for the band-aid you put in place after giving terrorists safe harbor to create private pages used to communicate with each other in the 1st place. As their phones are tapped, terrorists resort to its private & group page platform to recruit and strategize. Talk about too little, too late! FB is wracked with guilt, so instead of hiring like-language-speaking talent to review pages before they launch, it turns the other cheek and creates a feel-good app instead.

    FB has the budget to create and staff a dedicated department, but it prefers to turn a deaf ear. Think of all the translators it could employ! But no….instead it continues on with its #FacebookIntifada.

  2. Jim Evanhoe says:

    Obama must be removed ….. His willful ignorance is dangerous to US all and the World. Failure after failure after failure = Obama, His ignorance covers not only ISIS but a broad range of Serious Concerns: How did we get here? Answer: Bush & Obama. Who started this? Answer: ISIS has to be financed can’t buy automatic weapons – bullets – or make bombs on Rent Money! The money both with ISIS and with Ben Laden came from Saudi Arabia. Add Bush & Cheney completely destabilizing the Sunni Population in Iraq via lies about WMDs – leading to ISIS financed by Saudi Arabia. Then we have the failure by Obama to then react accordingly as he failed to do with: Wall Street gangster who destroyed the global economy, or HSBC for laundering illegal drug cartel money –Billions- making them hugely successful leading 10s of 1,000s to their Death = Manslaughter, dying from Obama’s Heroin here in the USA. Obama’s willful ignorance is now the blame. Obama is now an established fool. But what to do now? Demand Saudi Arabia who created ISIS to stop them or face destruction of their Oil Complex and Obama must be forced out of Office.

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