Skip to main content

Alert! You may soon be able to activate Facebook's 'Safety Check' feature yourself

1143461 autosave v1 2 mark zuckerberg ceo at facebook
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Facebook may be about to relinquish some of the control over its Safety Check feature. In a town hall meeting Monday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed that the company is working on a way to allow users to activate the feature themselves in the case of an emergency.

It’s not yet clear exactly when you’ll be able to activate Safety Check yourself, however the move makes sense — one of the biggest criticisms of the feature is that it’s completely up to Facebook’s discretion as to when it should be activated.

“When Safety Check got started a couple of years ago, it was only for natural disasters,” said Zuckerberg during the meeting. “Unfortunately, since then we’ve had to expand it to terrorists 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.”

Of course, it’s unlikely that users will have complete control over the feature — the last thing Facebook wants is for people to activate it without there actually being an emergency. It’s likely that certain events will need to “qualify” for the Safety Check feature.

Safety Check first launched in 2014, and has since been used for a range of disasters and attacks. It was first deployed during the Nepal earthquake in 2014. After activating the feature during the Paris terrorist attacks, the company was criticized for favoring Western concerns over attacks in places like Lebanon. The feature has been activated more broadly since then. The hope is that by opening the feature up to users to activate, it will be far more broad and be usable by people in all emergency situations.

Editors' Recommendations

Christian de Looper
Christian’s interest in technology began as a child in Australia, when he stumbled upon a computer at a garage sale that he…
This Facebook feature can help you help others in pandemic
Crisis Response Hub

Facebook has activated its Community Help tool that enables people to offer assistance, and ask for it, too.

The move comes as the U.S. and other countries around the world grapple with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, with a growing number of people around the world ordered to stay home in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.

Read more
WhatsApp may soon let you send disappearing messages in private chats
whatsapp group admin feature telegram

WhatsApp may, at long last, add a feature most of its rivals have been offering for ages. The Facebook-owned messaging service is reportedly trialing a new option that will let you send self-destructing messages in private conversations.

Spotted by WABetaInfo, which reverse-engineers WhatsApp clients to unearth unannounced functions, the messaging app’s latest Android beta comes with a hidden "Delete messages" setting. It allows you to set a blanket expiration timer for all of your messages in a one-on-one personal chat. Once activated, each of your sent messages in that conversation will vanish some time after the recipient has read it. You can have them gone as quickly as an hour or up to a year.

Read more
Uber app adds safety feature to let you report a problem from the car
uber paris protest

While the vast majority of Uber rides pass off without incident, there will always be a few where the rider is made to feel uncomfortable, or worse, through the actions of the driver.

Keen to reassure riders that it’s looking out for them, Uber has just released a new feature that lets you report a problem while a trip is in progress.

Read more