In the aftermath of the two earthquakes in Nepal, Facebook set up a safety check function to allow users caught up in the tragedy to alert their family and friends to their safety with a quick status update.
If Facebook believes your location to be near the earthquake in Kathmandu, you are prompted to mark yourself as ‘safe’, if applicable. Friends are then notified if you are affected but safe.
Many have commended Facebook for the helpful tool. People can also update on a friend’s behalf if they have heard from them but they personally have no internet access.
Facebook developed the tool after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan as a fast way to let friends and family know they are safe. However, some users have been turning it into a joke, and checking in as safe despite being clearly in Ireland and not Nepal.
Many have called it disrespectful to be so far from the earthquake disaster zone, which claimed the lives of 8,200 people, claiming that the fake check-ins dilute the feature for those it could be genuinely useful to.
But hey, it can be used for something…
Facebook is also calling for donations to the Nepal Earthquake Relief, with over €15 million raised so far.