Facebook’s Safety Check tool was initially activated following the January 2016 attacks in Paris, but it has recently been plagued by bugs. Within hours of a terrorist bombing attack in a park in Lahore, Pakistan, Safety Check messages were sent to people all across the world on March 27. Users who were not in Pakistan received alerts asking them to reassure their loved ones back home that they were safe, which was obviously pointless if the recipient was not even in Pakistan. But after it was first praised, Facebook users all over the world have become more and more skeptical about this feature. Read More
The corporation confirmed the reason, saying that it was due to bugs after being asked. In the wake of terrorist attacks and natural disasters in multiple countries over the past few years, Facebook has worked to improve its features. However, the company is still under a lot of scrutiny for some strange things that happened after these events.
Facebook’s Security Check Could Use Improvements
Blast in Lahore
After the blast in Lahore, users in Nepal, South Africa, the United States, and Canada said they received Safety Check notifications asking them to reassure loved ones back home that they were okay. Quartz.com reports that users in New York City received alerts even after the tragedy had already occurred (including some of the Quartz employees). Lots of people on Twitter and Facebook asked related questions. Read More
After the news of the bombing broke, some Facebook users expressed dissatisfaction with the function of Safety Check. This worry is understandable, and Safety Check has proven effective in the wake of the January 2016 terrorist incident in Paris, in which more than 100 individuals lost their lives. This function, if it works as intended, will be of great use in the event of grave crimes. After a natural disaster such as an earthquake, volcanic eruption, flood, or catastrophic transportation tragedy, Safety Check is a useful tool for notifying friends, coworkers, and family. Because this function was supposed to be a way to share potentially upsetting or private information, the problems hurt its credibility a little bit.
A Facebook spokeswoman has been quoted on Quartz.com as saying the company is aware of the alerts and regrets any misunderstanding or unease they may have caused. A Facebook representative also stated that the messages were most likely caused by bugs, and that the social media giant is currently working to resolve the problems. But users and netizens have been upset with Safety Check and the features that go with it in recent months.
Inconsistencies in Facebook’s Safety Check
However, Facebook has been under intense criticism because of inconsistencies in the activation of the Safety Check feature. One of the main points of contention is Facebook’s apparent prejudice and lack of consistency when it comes to activating its features in times of calamity. Such as how the company used Safety Check after the terrorist attacks in Paris but not after the bombings in Beirut the day before.
Bombing in Ankara
After the bombing in Ankara, Facebook did the same thing again, but not after the gunman attack in Côte d’Ivoire. Concerns have been raised by many Facebook users and netizens at large over what they regard as clearly biased decisions to activate Safety Check. Facebook’s choice to offer a temporary profile picture expressing solidarity with France but not with other nations hit by terrorism, such as Turkey or Lebanon, was a topic of conversation. Users from all across the world have criticized Facebook for what they regard as a biased decision to activate features, despite the company’s announcement that the system still needs improvements.
Facebook has said that it is working to address this issue. After this week’s terrorist assault in Nigeria, the outcome of Facebook’s Safety Check activation becomes evident. People from all over the world have been begging Facebook to fix its broken Safety Check tool and stop favoring one group over another when turning on helpful features after tragedies like terrorist attacks.
Facebook’s Media-Platform Capabilities Validated by Independent Safety Audit
Safety Check notifications have helped establish Facebook’s growing prominence as a media outlet, despite inconsistencies and recent glitches. More and more individuals are ditching their online newspapers in favor of social media, where they can easily share links and initiate viral campaigns. When compared to Twitter and its Trending Topics feature, Facebook has been criticized for being slow to post online updates about breaking news.
Facebook’s Safety Check feature
The alert from Facebook’s Safety Check feature provides brief details about the incident and then encourages the user to notify their Facebook friends that they are okay. That’s right, the same system that alerts you to safety checks also alerts you to breaking news. In spite of the recent bug that caused users all around the world to receive Safety Check messages after the Lahore explosion, the notifications nevertheless served to inform users about the tragedy in Pakistan before they had even accessed online news sources or turned on the television. Consequently, Facebook has now mostly caught up to Twitter as a platform for breaking news, notifying users around the world about recent occurrences in foreign countries.
Users have hoped that Facebook will improve as a media platform to compete with Twitter, which is where this breaking news service first appeared. Instead of following Twitter’s lead as a provider of breaking news and viral marketing tools via features like Trending Topics and hashtags (which Facebook has adopted for quite some time), Facebook seems still adamant about cementing its reputation as a safe social media platform with extra concern for privacy. Due to some unfortunate bugs, Safety Check became a good way to report breaking news. This suggests that Facebook could benefit from adding features that take advantage of its role as a media hub.
But Facebook has said that fixing its Safety Check tool will be a top priority, and it plans to keep the tool as it is now.