Facebook Opens Up Safety Check Feature After Paris Tragedy

facebook_blackbg_logoFacebook has changed the way it operates its Safety Check feature following the devastating terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday, the site announced over the weekend. Previously, the feature had only been used for natural disasters, but Facebook says it is now planning on expanding it to man-made disasters, too.

According to Facebook, the tool allowed 4.1 million people to mark themselves as safe in the first 24 hours after the attack, and 360 million people received the safety notifications. However, the feature is not without its critics. Though the site activated the feature quickly for the attack in Paris, it did not do the same for a large terrorist attack in Beirut last Thursday that killed at least 43 people. Others criticized the site for inserting itself into world events. For its part, Facebook said the tool is a work in progress.

“We want this tool to be available whenever and wherever it can help,” said Alex Schultz, Facebook’s Vice President of Growth. “We will learn a lot from feedback on this launch, and we’ll also continue to explore how we can help people show support for the things they care about through their Facebook profiles, which we did in the case for Paris, too.”
It’s a tricky balance to strike—but the more people who can be notified of their loved ones’ safety following a tragedy, the better.