Facebook Safety Check was implemented in 2014 as a way for people to see if their friends were okay in a crisis situation. The social networking site basically allows users in a given area (this time it’s Paris, France) to “check in,” and a message is posted on friends’ Newsfeeds letting them know that they have been accounted for.
If you have any Facebook friends living in Paris, you may have noticed something like the following pop up on your feed.
According to Time, Facebook users that experience a life-threatening situation in a given area will be offered a way to let others know that they are indeed safe. This is one way that social media has been proactive in finding ways to ease the panic that so many people feel when they don’t know if their loved ones, friends, colleagues, or the like are okay in times of crisis.
“Unlike a normal Facebook update, using Safety Check will instantly blast your status to your friends in the form of a notification.”
Facebook Safety Check was developed following the devastating tsunami in Japan last year. Since that time, it has been activated on a couple of occasions, generally after natural disasters like hurricanes. Time reports that the Paris attacks mark the first time that Facebook has used this tool in a terror-related situation. For many Facebook users, however, this tool has proven itself to be quite helpful.
According to CNN Money, Facebook released a statement following the most recent terrorist attacks and explained the decision to activate Safety Check following the tragic events that left over 120 people dead on Friday, November 13.
“We are shocked and saddened by the events unfolding in Paris. Communication is critical in these moments both for people there and for their friends and families anxious for news. People turn to Facebook to check on loved ones and get updates which is why we created Safety Check and why we have activated it today for people in Paris.”
And Facebook isn’t the only social media giant helping people all over the world cope with this tragedy. Twitter has also done its part to assist people looking for loved ones. The hashtag “#rechercheParis” (translation: Search Paris) became a trending topic on the social networking site as people used it to try to find out if their family members and/or friends were safe.
We are looking for Anna Petard Lieffrig. 24yo. She was in area 19 E at 9pm last night.#rechercheParis Aidez-nous svp pic.twitter.com/Z7wldUtuYN
— Maria Lopez-Latorre (@mentatzoe) November 14, 2015
— Finishing Line Press (@FLPress) November 14, 2015
— Dalia Ezzat (@DaliaEzzat_) November 14, 2015
Facebook users have also been given an option to show their support for Paris by changing their profile photo to include an overlay of France’s flag. Thousands of users have already taken part in this as a way to “stand with Paris.”
The world continues to mourn for Paris as the country is in a state of emergency. ISIS has taken responsibility for these planned attacks and have threatened additional violence. According to CNN, six different sites were targeted by a group of extremists, many of whom died when bombs went off. Authorities are still looking for other terrorists in the area who may have been involved.
Facebook and Twitter will continue to be resources to users during this difficult time.
[Photo by David Ramos | Getty Images News]