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article imageFacebook announces new Safety Check features after London fire

By James Walker     Jun 14, 2017 in Internet
Facebook has announced several new features for its Safety Check crisis tool. They make it easier to stay connected and assist other members of the community when disaster strikes. The announcement came hours after Safety Check was activated in London.
Facebook unveiled the new features in a blog post today. They follow on from previous announcements earlier this year, including the launch of Community Help. This lets people in a disaster zone post requests for items they need. Other community members can offer to contribute supplies and people from outside the area can check how they can help.
Community Help is now available on desktop PCs via a web browser. This will allow more people to see what help is required, regardless of the platform they use. Facebook's also going to activate Community Help for every crisis that Safety Check is enabled for, seeing it move beyond the initial pilot program.
Facebook Safety Check
Facebook Safety Check
Facebook
Safety Check is getting a new fundraising feature too. Similarly to Community Help, it lets people outside the crisis area provide financial assistance in a centralised way. Without leaving Safety Check, Facebook users will be able to create and donate to fundraising campaigns designed to help people in need. The feature will initially be trialled within the U.S. starting in the coming weeks.
Finally, Facebook's making Safety Check more useful and personal by adding the option to include a personal note when you mark yourself as safe. Other users will see the message in the News Feed story generated when you check in with Safety Check, letting you provide more context on your situation.
Facebook Safety Check
Facebook Safety Check
Facebook
Facebook said it has activated Safety Check over 600 times worldwide within the past two years. In total, over a billion notifications have been sent to users, informing them that their friends and family are safe. Today's new features were unveiled mere hours after Facebook enabled Safety Check in London for people impacted by the Grenfell Tower fire catastrophe.
"Safety Check has been activated more than 600 times in two years and has notified people that their families and friends are safe more than a billion times," the company said. "Keeping the community safe means everything to us at Facebook and we hope that these updates to Safety Check continue to do just that."
Facebook Safety Check
Facebook Safety Check
Facebook
Facebook said it will continue to develop and expand Safety Check as it sees more use around the world. The company intends the feature to be a single place to keep in touch with close friends and family when a crisis occurs, cutting down the time needed to establish whether an individual is safe.
Earlier this month, Facebook announced it will start sharing Safety Check data with select aid organisations. It wants to use the wealth of information its platforms store to coordinate search and rescue efforts and enable prioritisation of resources. The company's "disaster maps" let aid workers visualise the worst-hit areas, reducing the time needed to plan recovery operations.
More about Facebook, safety check, disaster recovery, Crisis
 
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