The first thing people do when there is a disaster near them is to call family and friends and let them know they are OK, but when too many users call at the same time mobile networks clog. At Facebook they think they have the solution – just post an update on your social status.
Facebook has presented a new tool for iOS, Android and desktops called Safety Check. The app sources your location and if any emergency occurs in the area it activates to ask you whether you are OK? This way everyone will know your whereabouts with just the click of a button. Facebook has been known to be used for similar purposes, and Safety Check just makes the process simpler.
The idea comes from Facebook’s Japanese division following the earthquake and tsunami events in 2011. A flood of texts messages followed the earthquake in Napa Valley in August, but now it can all be simpler. Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted the following 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,”
Other networks offer somewhat similar tools too. Last year Tweeter came up with an emergency alert system, but its main purpose is to give users real-time information about disasters, not to help them communicate their whereabouts in an emergency. Another similar tool is offered by Nextdoor, but its alert tool requires users to write a message which is not that much helpful in an emergency apart from the fact that Nextdoor does not have such a wide reach as Facebook.
Facebook’s new Safety Check tool offers a simple solution to a common behavior. It does not look like rocket science, but its value means the world to your loved ones.
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