Facebook's New Approach To Disaster

One night in Paris, France--the city of a thousand sparkling lights, was set afire. People were dining in little cafes, attending concerts, watching the much anticipated France vs. Germany football game and then smoke was everywhere.

On Friday, the lives of at least 128 people were lost, as terrorists, some with AK-47s, and some with bombs strapped to them, strategically attacked sites throughout the French capital.

As the horrendous and terrifying events took place, Facebook responded quickly by launching the Safety Check system. The system is designed to allow users to let friends know you are safe. Simply, check your notifications and Facebook will let you know if you are near a natural disaster or near an emergency situation and hit “OK” or the “I’m Safe” button and Facebook will let friends know you are safe. People are able to check themselves as safe, unsafe, or not in the area. You are also able to check to a list of friends who may be affected by the disaster.

Founder, Mark Zuckerberg commented, “Over the last few years there have been many disasters and crises where people have turned to the Internet for help.”

And it is just because people turn to the internet for help that  the system is now under fire, as Facebook’s Safety Check did not cover the seemingly forgotten, twin suicide bombings that struck a southern, Beirut suburb stronghold of the militant Shiite Hezbollah group on Thursday evening. At least 43 people were killed and many more were wounded, in one of the deadliest attacks in Lebanon’s recent years.

Facebook user Lynn El Ahmar wrote: "Many Lebanese live abroad and would have appreciated such feature to check on their families and friends' safety."

"We're really sad for what happened in Paris tonight but there is also a city capital named BEIRUT and was attacked yesterday from terrorist why facebook didn't activated the safety check in Lebanon Mark Zuckerberg?" Wadih Constantine wrote in a comment.

Zuckerberg then responded to the all comments in a post on his Facebook page, "You are right that there are many other important conflicts in the world," Zuckerberg wrote. "Until yesterday, our policy was only to activate Safety Check for natural disasters. We just changed this [policy] and now plan to activate Safety Check for more human disasters going forward as well."

Safety Check was first unveiled by Facebook in 2014 and before Friday had been used five times, all of which were for natural disasters.