Facebook announces disaster communication tool

Facebook image of phone displaying
Image provided by Facebook

Facebook has announced implementation of a new communication tool designed to help people learn quickly whether a disaster has harmed their loved ones.

The tool, called “Safety Check,” will help users:

  • Let friends and family know they’re safe
  • Check on others in the affected area
  • Mark their friends as safe

Only the user’s friends will see the user’s safety status and the comments the user shares.

Safety Check will be available globally on Android, iOS, feature phones and desktop.

Facebook will activate the tool after any major disaster. When Facebook does so, any users who Facebook’s servers believe might be in the disaster area will receive a message through their Facebook accounts, asking if they’re safe.

Users may then indicate that they’re safe, or, if Facebook got their location wrong, that they’re outside the disaster area.

Whenever users mark themselves as safe, Facebook will send a message to all of the users’ Facebook friends to inform them.

Another way people can inform their loved ones that they are safe after a disaster is the American Red Cross’ “Safe & Well” program. Everyone who has access to the Web may go to the Safe & Well website and list themselves as safe and well. Users outside the disaster area may use the same website to search for registrants by name, phone number or home address.

How useful do you think such tools are? Add your comments using the comment link under the title of this post.

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