Facebook has activated its Safety Check feature on June 12 for the first time in the United States after news broke out regarding a brutal shooting incident in Orlando, Florida.
A gunman with an assault rifle terrorized a jampacked gay nightclub in Orlando, in what is being called as the worst mass shooting in the modern history of the United States. Through the Amaq news agency, ISIS has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack.
The police were able to kill the gunman, who was later identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen, a citizen of the United States and a resident of Florida. However, Mateen was taken down after he killed 50 people and injured at least 53 others.
For Facebook users who are worried about the welfare of their family members or friends in Orlando, they can use the social network's Safety Check feature, which was launched in October 2014. The feature allows users to let their connections on Facebook know that they are safe after a natural disaster or a crisis, and allows users to search for people who are located in the area where the incident has occurred.
"Earlier this month, we began testing features that allow people to both initiate and share Safety Check on Facebook," said a spokesperson for Facebook, adding that the company has made improvements to the launch process of the feature to make it faster and allow to be activated more often. Facebook is also trying out new ways to allow users to pinpoint and elevate local incidents.
Facebook's Safety Check was activated after the terror attacks that hit Brussels and the bombing in Ankara, Turkey earlier in the year, as well as for the terrorist activities that struck Paris last year.
Facebook also activated the Safety Check feature after an explosion that rocked Pakistan, but due to a glitch, notifications were wrongly sent to users living in other parts of the world asking if they were affected by the incident. In addition to the minor inconvenience of the wrong notification, the misfire worried some users that an explosion occurred near them although no such thing happened.
News coverage of the Orlando shooting featured prominently in Facebook's Trending Topics section after the incident, and dominated other social media platforms as well.