Facebook in 2014 launched Safety Check, a service that allows users to quickly share with friends and family that they’re alright in the wake of a disaster or tragedy like the massive earthquake that rocked Italy last week and the Orlando shooting, respectively.
It’s a noble effort but one that has often been criticized for a variety of reasons. Chief among them has to do with the unfortunate events that do – and don’t – activate Safety Check. It’s something the social network is already working on behind the scenes.
At a recent town hall meeting at Luiss University in Rome, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was asked if users would be able to activate Safety Check on their own. Zuckerberg confirmed that yes, they are already working on it and added the following:
“If we’re building a community product, this is one of the moments of truth for us. How we judge whether Facebook is successful, it’s not just on whether you can share a photo of a fun moment or a night out with friends but it’s also whether our community is strong enough and we give people the tools to keep people safe in those [emergency] situations. We’re working on what you say.
When Safety Check got started a couple of years ago, it was only for natural disasters. Unfortunately since then we’ve had to expand it to terrorist attacks too because that’s just been too common over the last few years. The next thing we need to do is make it so that communities can trigger it themselves when there is some disaster.”
How exactly Facebook will go about implementing community-driven or individual Safety Checks remains unknown, nor do we have any guidelines at this time as to what exactly would qualify to activate it.