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Nepal Earthquake: How Facebook Safety Check Helps Families Locate Loved Ones

June 20, 2016

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Image courtesy of Nirmal Dulal.

 

April 25th, 2015 marked a devastating day for the country of Nepal and adjoining areas of India, China, and Bangladesh. As the countries grapple with the aftermath of the most powerful disaster to strike Nepal since 1934, a recently introduced Facebook application may be helping the families and friends of those affected breathe a sigh of relief.

Facebook’s 1.32 billion users currently use the social network to update “friends” on the latest events and happenings in their lives. Now, with a new feature known as “Safety Check” users can notify people with the status of their safety condition during natural disasters.

The application, which rolled out last October, asks users in an area affected by disaster or tragedy if they are safe. Using the city listed in users profiles, their latest check-in or the location from which they are accessing the Internet, Facebook will activate Safety Check and determine who is in the area of distress, and send a notification regarding their safety.

 

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Image courtesy of Facebook.


After the Nepal earthquake (also referred to as the Himalayan earthquake), Facebook users had the option to update their Facebook with either “I’m safe” or “I’m not in the area,” and to mark friends as safe as well (upon approval). Their choices then generated a News Feed story. If users had friends in an affected area who were marked as safe, they received a notification and were then taken to a Security Check bookmark with a list of updates.

Since then, millions of people have been marked safe and tens of millions have been notified of the safety status of someone they know.

 

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Image courtesy of Facebook.


In an effort to further support the victims of the earthquake, Facebook has added a message at the top of the News Feed with an option to donate to International Medical Corps, which has emergency response teams operating mobile medical units to deliver critically needed medical care and medicines to the regions hardest hit by the earthquake. Facebook will match every dollar donated up to $2 million.

Head to facebook.com/nepalearthquakesupport to learn more.

 

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