Facebook has announced a new feature called Safety Check. After a natural disaster, Safety Check will automatically check a Facebook user’s location. After the location check, the feature will display a question that asks if the user is safe. If the user is safe, then the user can use a push notification display that will publicize their safety.
Mark Zuckerberg introduced the new feature in Japan on Wednesday. Japan was shaken by a tsunami in 2011. The tsunami’s effects on the country are still apparent, and Facebook’s Japanese engineers hope Safety Check will improve communication based off events they witnessed during the 2011 tsunami.
After a natural disaster, friends and family of men and women caught in the disaster are left scrambling for information. In their anxiousness, many people cause further harm by placing themselves or others in danger. Sadly, during most disasters people can only bide their time and wait.
In addition, the new feature will also enhance communication after natural disasters. A user may not have time to make a call or write an entire Facebook post during a disaster.
There are potential problems, notes critic Gianfrancesco Genoso in this article. For instance, if the disaster destroys phone coverage in an area, then the user may not have a connection to the internet. However, Safety Check is a large step forward in terms of simplifying communication during a crisis.