Using their powers for good: Facebook’s safety feature & the tragedy in Brussels

With recent tragic events this week in Brussels, we have again seen Facebook enact their Safety Check feature:



When Facebook’s safety feature was first enabled, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg posted:  “When disasters happen, people need to know their loved ones are safe. It’s moments like this that being able to connect really matters.” – and we couldn’t agree more!


How does it work?

The way that this feature works is if you’re one of the areas affected by the disaster, you’ll get a notification on Facebook asking if you’re safe, and whether you want to check on any of your friends.  Your friends will then get a notification on their end saying that you’re safe, as seen below:



This feature is brilliant because in a time such as this, telephone networks are often jammed with thousands (if not millions) of people phoning around to check on loved ones or contacting emergency services.  Facebook has created a simple feature that means with the click of a button, everyone in your social media world can know that you or your loved ones are ok.


So how does Facebook know that you’re in the affected area?  

In this case, people who have ‘Brussels’ listed as their city were immediately asked if they were safe.  Facebook also asks people whose current location is in the affected area (this only works if you have given Facebook access to your phone or tablet’s location), and they also look at other signals such as the city where you use the internet.


And why we love it…

In today’s world where big players like Facebook often change features based upon greatest potential positive impact for shareholders, it’s nice to see them using their ‘powers’ for good.


Our thoughts are with all those affected by the recent attacks in Brussels.  



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Simone Douglas

Simone is co-founder and Senior Principal Solutions Architect of Digital Marketing AOK. Simone offers over 17 years in corporate management roles encompassing generalist HR recruitment and development of small to large teams across multiple sites, industry sectors and states. Experienced in a variety of social media platforms and their complimentary applications, social media strategy, risk management, disaster recovery and associated HR policies and processes.