Why did Facebook turn on Safety Check for Paris and not Beirut? Zuckerberg explains

facebook quickly turns on safety check following deadly bombing in nigeria mark zuckerberg  ceo at 2
As Paris suffered multiple terror attacks Friday night in which at least 129 people died, Facebook took the decision to activate its “Safety Check” feature, a tool launched last year to help people caught in a crisis let others know they’re safe.

With more than four million Facebook members using the tool over the weekend to mark themselves as safe, and some 360 million notifications automatically sent out to let others know their loved ones were unharmed in the terror incident, Safety Check clearly showed its worth in the hours following the attack.

However, some questioned why the social networking giant hadn’t also activated Safety Check following two suicide bombings in a busy Beirut shopping street a day earlier that killed at least 43 people.

The concerns were addressed by Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg in a message posted over the weekend.

The CEO said many people had “rightfully asked” why it’d turned on Safety Check for the Paris attacks but not for the Beirut bombings, explaining that until the incident in France, company policy had been to activate it only for natural disasters.

He wrote: “You are right that there are many other important conflicts in the world. We care about all people equally, and we will work hard to help people suffering in as many of these situations as we can.”

Zuckerberg said that after reviewing the situation, the company had now changed the policy and would activate Safety Check for “more human disasters” from hereon in.

“Safety Check is a relatively new feature”

In another post expanding on Zuckerberg’s message, Facebook executive Alex Schultz said the company was “learning to make the tool and policies behind it better as we go – and because Safety Check is a relatively new feature for us, we’re still understanding how it can best be used and in what instances.”

The executive said the company decided to activate the feature during the Paris attack “because we observed a lot of activity on Facebook as the events were unfolding. In the middle of a complex, uncertain situation affecting many people, Facebook became a place where people were sharing information and looking to understand the condition of their loved ones.”

The site also faced accusations of selective solidarity after it launched a French flag filter for profile shots, prompting one user with a graphic design background to offer a solution.

Product Review

With sapphire glass and analog dials, you'd never know this watch is smart

The world of hybrid smartwatches is getting much larger, and the latest comes from a name with history — New York Standard Watches. In our NYSW GTS Activity Tracker review, we find out what makes this watch special, and why we were so…
Cars

Ford’s prototype Quiet Kennel uses noise-canceling tech to keep dogs stress-free

Ford is ending 2018 by venturing into the doghouse market. The company's European division has built a kennel equipped with active noise-canceling technology and soundproof walls that help dogs sleep through fireworks.
Computing

Latest Facebook bug exposed up to 6.8 million users’ private photos

An API bug recently left an impact on Facebook users. Though the issue has since been fixed, some of the apps on the platform had a wrongful access to consumers photos for 12 days between September 13 and September 25. 
Photography

These are the best action cameras money can buy

Action cameras are great tools for capturing videos of your everyday activities, whether it's a birthday party or the steepest slope you've ever descended on your snowboard. These are the best money can buy.
Deals

Here are 19 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great stocking stuffer ideas), we've rounded up 19 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth…
Mobile

How to use Samsung’s Bixby assistant for all of your smartphone tasks

Samsung Bixby is a powerful tool, but not the most intuitive one we've encountered. Here's how to set up and use every feature of Samsung's digital assistant, as well as what to expect in the future.
Mobile

Microsoft patent filing shows wearable that mitigates involuntary movements

A patent application from Microsoft has shown the company is looking into using wearable technology to alleviate symptoms from various diseases and disorders that cause involuntary movements.
Mobile

Declutter your life with our favorite wireless chargers for Android and iPhones

We checked out the best wireless phone chargers to make tangles and uncooperative ports a thing of the past. Whether you have an iPhone or Android, find out which wireless charging pads are worth buying, and how their features compare.
Mobile

AT&T makes 5G a reality for a dozen U.S. cities, with more to come in 2019

Ready to experience a radical transformation in mobile communication? AT&T is launching mobile 5G in cities across the country over the next few months. Here's everything you need to know about the AT&T 5G rollout.
Mobile

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

Scientists have charged a phone and a Fitbit with solar-powered clothes

Scientists from Britain's Nottingham Trent University have discovered a way to incorporate solar panels into clothing, and they've even managed to charge a phone and Fitbit with the energy created.
Mobile

The Lenovo Z5 Pro GT packs the most RAM ever seen in a smartphone

The next generation of smartphones has begun, and it's begun with a bang. The Lenovo Z5 Pro GT comes with the next generation Snapdragon 855 processor, 12GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage.
Mobile

Which smartphone manufacturers won and lost in 2018

As the curtain comes down on 2018, we take a look at the big successes and failures in the smartphone market over the last 12 months. Which phone maker had the best year, and who had a year to forget?
Mobile

The best iPhone XS Max screen protectors to safeguard that huge display

If you love big screens, then the iPhone XS Max's huge 6.5-inch display is perfect for you. But it won't fare well against concrete. Protect your display with the best iPhone XS Max screen protectors.