In the wake of disasters, such as the tsunami in Japan, Hurricane Sandy, earthquakes, wildfires, and floods; Facebook employees have observed how people communicate during natural disasters. Many people tend to turn to Facebook to see if their friends and loved ones are safe. The social network introduced a tool Thursday to simplify that process – Safety Check.
Safety Check’s main goal is to allow you to provide your friends and family with a status update that you are in fact safe. It also allows you to check on the well-being of others in affected areas and to mark friends as safe. Once activated, the tool uses the location you have listed on your profile, your last location (if you have opted in to the Nearby Friends product) and the city where you are using the Internet. If you are in fact in an affected area, a notification will pop up on your phone where you can select “I’m Safe”, and an update is posted so your loved ones know you are okay.
Facebook isn’t the first or only company to consider such a feature. Google launched Public Alerts for natural disasters in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Do you think this is a beneficial addition to Facebook? We’d love to hear your opinion.