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Facebook Safety Check

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The idea was created in 2011 after earthquake and tsunami in Japan. This event helped to understand that people use social media during crises to connect with their loved ones. “Safety Check” is designed to stay connected with your family and friends during disasters.


The tool was announced in 2014 and has three major tasks:safety check

  • Inform others that you are safe
  • Check on your friends
  • Mark your friends as safe in affected areas


The tool uses geolocation to check if you are on affected area. The system identifies your location based on the city you mentioned in your profile, last locations you checked in and the city where you logged in. Then Facebook sends you a notification asking if you are safe. If it shows wrong location you just tag that you are in a different area. If you are safe you just click “I’m safe” button and on News Feed everyone can see that you are secure.

The “Safety Check” tool have used three times thus far: after Nepal earthquake (April 2015), Hurican Patricia (October 2015) and terror attacks in Paris which occurred yesterday. It was the first time Facebook used it for man-made disaster.

zamachy terorystyczne w paryżu

The Facebook idea was followed by other technology companies. After attacks Airbnb sent the email to their customers that they should stay at houses. Uber used the app to inform users to not move if it is not necessary.

On the one hand, it is really nice that companies made an effort to warn their customers. On the other hand, if we consider man-made disaster, I prefer to call than check safety report on Facebook. If it is natural disaster, telephone or internet communication are limited.

Is it public relation trick which has to convince us that Facebook is not only an ordinary tool to spy our lives?

In case you want to check on your friends: Safety Check

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