Facebook’s Safety Check feature was originally introduced for family and friends to check in on each other during natural disasters. Introduced to cater to natural disasters, the feature will now also be turned on during times of “human disasters” following the recent terrorist attacks on Beirut and Paris.
Safety Check was originally introduced during the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, but has also seen use after earthquakes in Afghanistan, Nepal, and Chile. The change in policy comes after Facebook received criticism for its lack of consistency with turning the Safety Check on. Social media users noted that Paris was covered by the feature, but a similar attack on Beirut went unnoticed.
While it is a good thing that Facebook is willing to change its policy to better cater to its users, critics believe that it does not address all the issues raised. Others also point out that Facebook’s temporary flag overlay for display pictures still only supports those in France and leaves out victims from terrorist attacks around the globe.