Facebook activated its Safety Check tool for users in Paris as a way to inform family and friends that they are OK after the terrorist attacks on Friday evening that killed more than 100 people and injured more than 350 others. More than 4 million people used the tool that allows users to click "Yes, let my friends know," which then notifies all their friends on the social network.

And while many users benefited from the tool, Facebook received backlash for not allowing its users to take advantage of the feature during the twin bombings in Beirut a day earlier.

Facebook is also under fire for releasing a photo filter that allowed its users to show their support for Paris by including the French flag on their profile pictures. This was also not an option following the Beirut attacks that killed more than 40 people and injured 200. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has taken responsibility for both.

Responding the to criticism, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed that Safety Check will be rolled out more widely in the future.

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

An early version of the Safety Check tool was first used after the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan. The company then activated the tool after earthquakes in Afghanistan, Chile and Nepal, as well as the tropical Cyclone Pam in the South Pacific and Typhoon Rube in the Philippines.

"We chose to activate Safety Check in Paris because we observed a lot of activity on Facebook as the events were unfolding. In the middle of a complex, uncertain situation affecting many people, Facebook became a place where people were sharing information and looking to understand the condition of their loved ones," Alex Schultz, Facebook's VP of Growth, writes in a post. "So we made the decision to try something we've never done before: activating Safety Check for something other than a natural disaster. There has to be a first time for trying something new, even in complex and sensitive times, and for us that was Paris."

The post reveals that Facebook will change its Safety Check policy to now be activated for other "serious and tragic incidents" moving forward.

Schultz revealed that the tool in its current form would not be used during an ongoing crisis such as a war since there "isn't a clear start or end point, and unfortunately, it's impossible to know when someone is truly 'safe.' "

He also said that Facebook will continue to develop ways to allows users to show their support regarding the issues they care about on their profiles.

Source: Facebook

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