Facebook Activates Safety Check for Brussels Bombings

By David Cohen Comment

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Facebook activated its Safety Check feature in response to Tuesday’s terrorist bombings in Brussels.

At the time of this post, at least 34 people were reported dead and nearly 200 others wounded as a result of two explosions at Brussels Airport and a third at a major subway station in the city, with at least one of those explosions triggered by a suicide bomber, according to The New York Times.

Facebook introduced Safety Check in October 2014 as a way for users to check on friends and loved ones or alert them that they are safe, during natural disasters and other crisis situations.

The feature has been activated by Facebook for situations including the April 2015 earthquakes in Nepal, the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris and another terrorist bombing in Yola, Nigeria, later that month.

In the days between the attacks in Paris and Yola, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the social network would expand its use of Safety Check, saying in a Facebook comment:

Many people have rightfully asked why we turned on Safety Check for Paris but not for bombings in Beirut and other places.

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.

Readers: Have you ever used Safety Check, either to check on a loved one or to assure your loved ones that you were OK?

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Image of Brussels Airport courtesy of Instagram user Jan Navarro.

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