If you have friends in Chile who are on Facebook, you may have been surprised this morning to receive notifications saying that they are safe after an 8.4-magnitude earthquake rocked the South American nation on Wednesday night.
The notifications are sent out thanks to the social media platform’s Safety Check application, which was first used after the earthquake in Nepal earlier this year. But until last night, it had not been utilized on a large scale for Spanish-speaking users. The app tracks users who are in the affected area based on their profile location, and asks them to confirm their status and that of their acquaintances.
The app tracks users who are in the affected area, and asks them to confirm their status
According to their Facebook profiles, Chilean residents received notifications last night asking them to confirm if they were “well.” “Let your friends know that you are safe,” a pop-up window says. Once the user responds, their friends receive a notification. At the same time, Facebook informs the user of the status of his contacts in Chile who have not yet confirmed their situation.
“Find and connect immediately with your friends in the area. Confirm that they are well if you find them safe,” the application recommends. As such, anyone who has friends in the affected country can collaborate and help collect information about those who might be hurt. And, as each user confirms his status, the application asks them to choose between several situations to indicate how their friends are doing, and it shares this information with their contacts.
The application asks them to choose between several situations to indicate how their friends are doing
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg launched Safety Check in October 2014. “Over the last few years, people have used the internet to find help during disasters and crises. Every time this happens, we see that users turn to Facebook to check whether their loved ones are safe. It's moments like this that being able to connect really matters,” he said on his Facebook page. “Safety Check is our way of helping the community during natural disasters and it gives you an easy way to say that you are safe and to confirm that your friends and family are as well.”