Facebook Adds New Safety Check Feature To Let Loved Ones Know You’re Okay After A Disaster

SafetyCheck2I’ll never forget the one time I’ve felt an earthquake in New York City. Not because it was anything scary — it was only a brief, jarring moment in an elevator — but because it seemed like every person I knew outside of the area was reaching out whether through text, phone call, email or social media to make sure I was okay (I was totally fine, but it was nice anyway). Facebook has a new feature called Safety Check that it says will make that whole process a lot easier.

Here’s how Safety Check will work, according to a new company blog post: Facebook will send you a notification to see if you’re okay after a major disaster or emergency has been reported in your area, and you can notify it that you’re safe, which will generate a notification and News Feed story with that news.

If you’re with friends, they can also check you as “I’m safe” if you’re not near your phone. You can also peruse a list of friends who’ve checked in as safe during disasters, with only friends seeing your status and any comments shared.

Facebook uses either your last location if you’ve opted in to Nearby Friends, the city listed on your profile and the city where you’re using the internet to find out if you’re in the affected area and send you a notification. And if you’re outside that area, you can mark that you’re safe and not near wherever the action is.

It’s unclear whether there’s an option for “No, I’m not safe, I’m trapped under a large car” or something, because you wouldn’t want to assume someone’s in danger just because they’ve failed to check in.