Facebook activated its Safety Check tool in the wake of the explosion in Pakistan to provide people in and near the vicinity of the incident a way to find and check up on the condition of their friends and family, but it mistakenly sent out the notifications to users in other parts of the globe who are far from the affected area.
According to local reports, the tragedy claimed at least 70 lives and wounded about 330 people, and many of the victims were women and children. A Pakistani Taliban splinter faction says that it carried out the suicide attack.
It seems that the users who received the Safety Check messages are mostly located in the United States, Europe and certain areas in the Middle East.
"Unfortunately, many people not affected by the crisis received a notification asking if they were okay. This kind of bug is counter to our intent. We worked quickly to resolve the issue and we apologize to anyone who mistakenly received the notification," Facebook says.
Aside from the minor inconvenience they may have caused, they also frightened some users, as they made them believe for a second that there was a disaster near their areas.
this really freaked me out until I realized that Facebook thought I was in Pakistan pic.twitter.com/3w6iHCsIaC
— Rachel Zarrell (@rachelzarrell) March 27, 2016
White House correspondent at The New York Times also received the alarming notification, posting the message on Twitter.
Got this message from Facebook asking if I was ok. It seems to think I'm in Lahore, Pakistan. I'm in Annandale, Va. pic.twitter.com/IgpYMXoxu5 — Michael D. Shear (@shearm) March 27, 2016
A staff writer of Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University Joseph Lichterman also shared his experience with the blunder on the social media platform.
Facebook is having issues with its emergency alerts. My GF was asked twice if she’s in Pakistan. She’s in Philly. pic.twitter.com/nLIX5min12
— Joseph Lichterman (@ylichterman) March 27, 2016
Facebook didn't elaborate exactly why this happened, simply blaming it on a bug. However, all that matters is that the Safety Check notifications have been rolled out in Lahore, Pakistan.