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Facebook activates “Safety Check” after Orlando shootings

Family gather for shooting victims Monday, June 13, 2016, at Beardall in Orlando, just north of the shooting scene at the Pulse night club in Orlando. (Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel via AP) ** LEESBURG OUT, LADY LAKE OUT , DAYTONA BEACH NEWS JOURNAL OUT , TV OUT, MAGS OUT, NO SALES **

Family gather for shooting victims Monday, June 13, 2016, at Beardall in Orlando, just north of the shooting scene at the Pulse night club in Orlando. (Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

In light of the recent shooting at an Orlando nightclub on Sunday, Facebook activated “Safety Check”, making it the first time that the service was used in the United States.

The feature was launched in 2014 to help users near a natural disaster alert family and friends that they’re safe. The terrorist attacks in Paris on November 2015 marks the first time that Safety Check was used during a terrorist attack.

“Following the community-generated Safety Check activation this morning in Orlando, we have now activated Facebook-initiated Safety Check for a mass shooting at a nightclub there. We hope the people in the area find the tool a helpful way to let their friends and family know they are okay,”a spokeswoman said on Sunday.

In the past two years, Facebook activated Safety Check 11 times, but between January and May of this year, it has been activated 17 times. Recent disasters that led to the activation were a wildfire in Alberta, Canada, earthquakes in Ecuador, a cyclone in Bangladesh, and flooding and landslides in Sri Lanka.

“Facebook became a place where people were sharing information and looking to understand the condition of their loved ones,” a company post said at the time of the Paris attacks.

Safety Check has been proven to be a useful tool for concerned families and friends, and for victims who may not be able to risk a phone call to let loved ones know they are on their way to safety.


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