Facebook is making Safety Check more useful in times of crisis, allowing users to seek and offer help in cases of emergency.
Times of crisis are tough to handle and Safety Check is designed to offer some level of reassurance that loved ones are unharmed. When an emergency occurs, Facebook activates Safety Check so that people in that area can check in and let others know that they're okay.
Thanks to a new tool called Community Help, Safety Check now takes things to the next level and users will be able to offer food, shelter and transportation to help victims affected by a disaster. Likewise, those affected will be able to seek help and shelter through this tool.
Facebook Safety Check Adds Community Help Tool
The new feature comes as a new page to Safety Check, allowing locals to offer their help such as supplies, water or shelter to victims nearby. Victims can search through categorized posts and contact providers via Facebook Messenger.
The new Community Help tool is launching first in the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, and India, designed to offer aid in natural and accidental disasters. After testing the feature in these markets, Facebook hopes to widen its availability to all countries worldwide and include other types of crisis situations such as terrorist attacks and intentional, man-made disasters.
Safety Check first launched in 2014 to make it easier for Facebook users to tell family and friends that they're safe if a disaster occurred in their area. Facebook activates Safety Check in times of crisis, such as the Orlando massacre, the Paris shooting and explosions, the bombing attacks in Belgium and Nigeria, and more. If numerous people post about a crisis situation nearby, Facebook's Safety Check is automatically triggered and prompts users in the area to mark themselves as safe.
"Safety Check has been activated hundreds of times, but we know we can do more to empower the community to help one another," says Facebook.
The moments in the aftermath of a crisis can be crucial and it's imperative for victims to get help as soon as possible. Facebook aims to connect people in those times of need.
"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."
Facebook Community Help: How It Works
After users mark themselves as safe with Facebook Safety Check, they will see a special page and feed about the crisis. Victims will be able to post and ask for help in one of roughly 10 categories such as shelter, food, water, transportation, and pet supplies, among others. Those who can help can search this feed and offer their help, or post what they have to offer. When victims connect with helpers via Facebook Messenger, they can mark their requests as completed.
This type of assistance has already been occurring through Facebook Groups and News Feeds, but Community Help aims to make it easier and more seamless by organizing things more clearly. To prevent potentially dangerous or fraudulent situations, Community Help doesn't allow brand-new accounts or suspicious accounts to participate.
Community Help is just getting started and it remains to be seen how it will pan out, but it has great potential to make a real difference for victims in times of crisis.