Facebook has announced an update to their Safety Check feature as they expand its capabilities to not only mark oneself safe but also to offer help or find supplies for yourself and those around you via the social network.
Since its launch three years ago, Safety Check feature on the social network has been used numerous times worldwide and now has more to offer with the latest update.
The update, called Community Help, lets users seek help related to food, shelter, transportation and other supplies after a crisis and lets people around extend their support too.
“With Community Help, people can find and give help and message others directly to connect after a crisis. Posts can be viewed by category and location, making it easier for people to find the help they need,” Naomi Gleit, VP of Social Good stated.
The Community Help tool will only be activated once Safety Check feature for a catastrophe has been activated, which happens after agencies like NC4 and iJET International have confirmed about a crisis and Facebook begins monitoring the incident in that area — including local people marking themselves safe.
The tool will also be activated in case of a terrorist attack in a certain area.
The Community Help tool will be available from within the Safety Check feature now onwards and people will be able to directly ask for help as well as extend support.
“We saw the community do this on their own through Groups and posts, like in the aftermath of the flooding in Chennai, India, in December 2015, but we knew we could do more. We also talked with experts, humanitarian relief organisations and our own in-the-field researchers to learn how to make it easier for people to find and give help,” Gleit added.
For the first few weeks, the Community Help tool will be made available in India, US, Canada, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand and Australia, with a global roll-out expected soon.
The company will be expanding it to other countries and adding types of incidents that require the Community Help tool as they learn from its usage in the aforementioned countries.
Facebook, being a 1.8-billion-strong community, has a great potential to be a platform for social good, wherein the community comes together to help those in need and this tool — if used as it’s supposed to be — will be a big plus for those facing adversity.