Users have criticized the social platform for using Safety Check for the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, but not for last week’s bombing in Beirut, which killed 40 people. Consequently, Facebook’s Safety Check will be activated for Paris AND Beirut.
Facebook was well-intentioned; the company was the first to respond when the attacks took place in Paris on November the 13th. Mark Zuckerberg and vice president Alex Schultz had a special gathering that night during which they agreed they should activate the Safety Check feature of the social network.
This option was initially created to help people easily find themselves in the aftermath of a natural disaster. The service has never been used before because the circumstances did not call for it. However, the state of emergency in Paris convinced Facebook it was time to activate the new feature.
Although this was definitely not the time for similar discussions, Facebook users and presumably victims in other countries felt discriminated by the online company. Users criticized Facebook for their choice to pay so much attention to attacks in Paris and neglect similar events in other parts of the world. Their case in point: last week’s terrorist attack in Beirut which killed 40 people.
Vice president Alex Schultz wrote an official blog post to respond to these accusations. He told Facebook users that it was not the social network’s intention to favor French victims to the detriment of other nations. They simply chose the Paris attacks to try the Safety Check for the first time.
“There has to be a first time for trying something new, even in complex and sensitive times, and for us, that was Paris,” were Schultz’s exact words.
He further explained that this was the first time Facebook thought the feature could be used for human threats, as well, not just for natural disasters. He reassured users that Safety Check will be used for many other violent events, now that a precedent has been set.
Although the official blog post suggested Facebook’s Safety Check will be activated for Paris and Beirut, some of his declarations have been rather confusing. Facebook’s vice president went on to say that the service would not be useful in war and epidemic areas simply because there are no safe places and people are never really out of danger.
Now that the first step has been made and Facebook’s Safety Check has been officially used, the social network will improve the feature based on the feedback they receive.
Facebook is also letting users add a “France flag” filter to their profile photos to show their support for victims in Paris.
Image source: www.dailymail.co.uk