Since it’s not a permanent feature on Facebook and it has to be activated, Safety Check has proven a rather controversial tool, especially since Mark Zuckerberg announced it will be activated for “more than just natural disasters.”
- Facebook is under scrutiny for not activating the Safety Check for the attack in Mali
- Safety Check allows users to let their friends know they’re safe in case of a disaster in the area
- People suggested they shouldn’t have to wait for the tool to be activated, but rather turn it on themselves
Thus, Facebook users felt it was a legitimate question to ask why the Safety Check wasn’t activated after the armed attack and siege on a hotel in Mali. This incident is a mere week away after several locations in Paris were attacked by terrorists – a time when Facebook dutifully activated the tool.
In spite of the recent controversy around Safety Check, the tool has proven its worth several times in the past, allowing Facebook users to mark themselves or their close ones safe during or after a natural or human disasters. As a matter of fact, the service’s policy was altered only after the Paris attacks, as CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained last week.
After promising to use the tool more often – given its efficacy – Facebook was bombarded with questions from users who thought it was unfair the tool wasn’t activated for the bombed attacks in Beirut, which occurred shortly before Paris’ tragedy.
In the same manner, people started asking Zuckerberg to take action an hour into the dramatic siege in Mali. Before being activated for Paris, Facebook’s Safety Check was used for the earthquakes in Chile, Afghanistan, and Nepal, as well as after the 2011 tsunami that hit Japan. The temporary fixture was also turned on after a bomb was detonated on Tuesday in Yola, a Nigerian city.
However, it’s only logical that every move of the company – whether it’s doing something or choosing to remain inactive – is scrutinized with thousands of eyes. Facebook currently boasts about 1 billion people active on the platform every day. With the promise of using the feature for more human disasters, Facebook must also accept the difficult position of having to choose which global conflicts merit its attention.
Some suggest that if Facebook wants to get out of this tricky position, it should allow users to activate the tool themselves. However, Facebook’s official response is that Safety Check is still a “relatively new feature,” which means its policies need polishing.
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