Facebook's 'Safety Check' lets friends know you're safe

Facebook said it knows when you are in a danger zone

Facebook Safety Check

Facebook Safety Check

During a major disaster, Facebook users can let their friends and family know they are safe by using the new Safety Check tool.

When the tool is activated and Facebook determines that a user may be in an area where a natural disaster occurred, the social network will send a notification asking if the user is safe. If the response "I'm Safe" is selected, Facebook will create a post and share it on the user's news feed, telling friends they are out of peril. Friends too have the possibility to mark someone as safe.

Facebook determines a user's location by looking at the city listed in their profile, their last location if they've opted in to the Nearby Friends service, and the city where they are using the Internet, presumably derived from their IP address. If the location is wrong the user can tell Safety Check they are not in the affected area.

If your friend is in a disaster area and the tool has been activated, you will receive a notification about those friends that have marked themselves as safe. Clicking on the notification will show a list of their updates.

Safety Check was created after the great earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011. To make it easier to communicate, Japanese Facebook engineers built a disaster message board, a first version of Safety Check.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg launched the service during a visit to Tokyo on Thursday.

"It's meaningful to be in Tokyo to announce this because the great earthquake and tsunami a few years ago inspired us to build the first version of this for Japan," said Zuckerberg, in a posting to his personal Facebook page.

Facebook isn't the first web giant to launch such a service. As part of its Crisis Response services, Google has previously activated its "Person Finder" service during such events -- including the 2011 quake -- allowing people to provide information about survivors of major natural disasters.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, online payment issues as well as EU technology policy and regulation for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicessocial networkinginternetFacebook

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Loek Essers

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?