Hurricane Matthew left a trail of destruction as it ravaged the Caribbean Islands leaving a death toll of 800 plus in Haiti before continuing on its course towards the Atlantic coast all the way from Florida to North Carolina.
Facebook immediately activated “Safety Check”so people in the affected areas could let their loved ones and friends knowthey are safe. The category 5 storm triggered massive evacuations, the kinds that hadn’t happened since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. An expert at Facebook said, the company wanted people to make use of the toolto keep their family and friends informed about their safety.
The “Safety Check “feature was first introduced in 2014. Since then Facebook has activated “safety check” a number of times. It was activated during the Paris attacks and the Brussels attacks, and more recently during the Orlando Night club shooting and the earthquake in Italy. The tool was used by thousands of Facebook users in each of these emergencies enabling them to inform their family friends of their safety.
Recently the company announced its plan for communities to be able to activate the “safety check” tool. This after the social media giant faced criticism amid allegations that it was favoring some countries over others. However, Mr. Zuckerberg during his visit to Italy in a town hall question-and-answer session said “The next thing we need to do is so communities can trigger safety check themselves when there is a disaster.”
Clearly the company is looking at sharing control over “safety check” to empower people in times of emergencies while also reinforcing its position of being just a social platform.