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Following the Orlando shooting, Facebook has enabled its Safety Check function.
The Safety Check service is a means by which Facebook users could easily inform their friends and followers that they are alright. Safety Check can also be used to search for people in a particular affected area in order to make reuniting with friends and family faster.
Safety Check had been a Facebook concept ever since 2011 and the early in-work version was called the Disaster Message Board.The feature was first added to Facebook on October 15th, 2014.
The Safety Check feature was enabled for the first time on April 25, 2015, as a reaction to the Nepal earthquake. It was also re-enabled for the following Nepal earthquake in the month of May of the same year.
The Safety Check was also used in 2015 in October, after Hurricane Patricia, and in November, following the Paris attacks. Prior to the Orlando shooting, the Safety Check feature had been used in 2016, after the suicide bombing in Brussels, on March 22.
On Sunday (June 12), Omar Mir Seddique Mateen, a 29-year-old Florida resident, entered a popular gay hotspot Pulse, in Orlando, armed with an assault rifle and a pistol. The gunman has killed 50 people and has left more than 53 injured.
Although a US citizen, Omar claimed allegiance to ISIS. Police officers were forced to utilize an armored vehicle to crash into the nightclub where they shot and killed Mateen three hours after he entered the club.
The incident now considered the worst mass shooting in the history of the United States, quickly became one of the most Trending topics of the whole day, as it was also addressed by high-ranking officials and political figures.
The topic #PrayForOrlando quickly flooded social media gateways such as Twitter and Facebook.
In 2015, after public disapproval in regards to the frequency at which Facebook enables its Safety Check feature, Mark Zuckerberg vowed to enable the feature whenever necessary.
The Safety Check feature is currently not a permanently available option for all Facebook users due to the social media aftermath of May 2015. After the Nepal earthquakes, people all over the globe used the feature, disregarding its original use. This was received with negative feedback by the community.
Facebook has ever since tried to localize the Safety Check feature, while making sure that as soon as any crisis or tragic large-scale event would occur, it will be usable by anyone in the designated area.
Image Courtesy of Facebook.