Facebook extends ‘safety check’ disaster functionality
Facebook’s Safety Check, a tool used to allow people to inform their friends and family that they are safe in the event of a nearby disaster, is extending its functionality so that users can offer food, shelter and transportation after a crisis.
Safety Check, which launched in 2014, is currently used by those close to the epicentre of a crisis to tell their friends and family that they are safe.
Now, a new tool called Community Help is being introduced that enables those unaffected to offer help to others.
Safety Check has been used in the past in the aftermath of such events as the Paris terror attacks in 2015.
Facebook said the feature will initially be deployed in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and Saudi Arabia before being rolled out globally.
“With Community Help people can find and give help and message others directly to connect after a crisis,” Facebook's Naomi Gleit said.
“Posts can be viewed by category and location, making it easier for people to find the help they need.
“We saw the community do this on their own through Groups and posts, like in the aftermath of the flooding in Chennai, India, in December 2015, but we knew we could do more.
“We also talked with experts, humanitarian relief organisations and our own in-the-field research to learn how to make it easier for people to find and give help.”
In 2015, Google and Facebook launched a set of emergency tools to help people find their friends lost in the aftermath of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal.