Facebook Responds to Critics After Using Safety Check Feature for Paris Attacks
The Safety Check was activated for Paris attacks but not for Beirut bombings.
By MEGAN SPINELLI
November 16, 2015, 4:47 PM
• 5 min read
-- Facebook has responded to criticism it received after some users questioned why a safety check was activated for the attack on Paris but not for bombings in Beirut.
Facebook rolled out the Safety Check feature on Friday after the six-pronged attack in Paris left 129 dead and more than 300 injured. Facebook users in the Paris area were able to check in and alert those in their network that they were safe.
Although many users found the tool helpful and gave positive feedback, others criticized it for not being used when twin bombings in a southern Beirut suburb in Lebanon left 43 dead and many more wounded.
Users took to Twitter to express their frustration with the selective use of the feature.
Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended Facebook in a comment on his page Saturday saying, "Until yesterday, our policy was only to activate Safety Check for natural disasters. We just changed this and now plan to activate Safety Check for more human disasters going forward as well."
He directed users to a post on the Facebook safety page written on Saturday by Vice President of Growth Alex Schultz.
In the post, Schultz explained that before Friday, the safety check has only ever been used for natural disasters, including earthquakes in Afghanistan, Chile and Nepal, Tropical Cyclone Pam in the South Pacific and Typhoon Ruby in the Philippines. Because of "a lot of activity on Facebook as the events were unfolding," Schultz said they decided to use it for something other than a natural disaster for the first time.