Facebook Safety Check: How Does Facebook’s Safety Check Work?

How Facebook’s Safety Check Works

In October of 2014, Mark Zuckerberg sent out the following announcement: “Today we announced the launch of Safety Check on Facebook. Over the last few years, there have been many disasters and crises where people have turned to the Internet for help. Each time, we see people use Facebook to check on their loved ones and see if they’re safe. Connecting with people is always valuable, but these are the moments when it matters most.

Safety Check is our way of helping our community during natural disasters and gives you an easy and simple way to say you’re safe and check on all your friends and family in one place.
It’s meaningful to be in Tokyo to announce this because the great earthquake and tsunami a few years ago inspired us to build the first version of this for Japan. Now we’re glad to have this ready to serve everyone in the world.

In times of disaster or crisis, people turn to Facebook to check on loved ones and get updates. It is in these moments that communication is most critical both for people in the affected areas and for their friends and families anxious for news.

We want to provide a helpful tool that people can use when major disasters strike, so we’ve created Safety Check – a simple and easy way to say you’re safe and check on others.

During a major disaster, Safety Check will help you:

  • Let friends and family know you’re safe
  • Check on others in the affected area
  • Mark your friends as safe
  • Only your friends will see your safety status and the comments you share.

Here’s How Facebook’s Safety Check Works

When the tool is activated after a natural disaster and if you’re in the affected area, you’ll receive a Facebook notification asking if you’re safe.

We’ll determine your location by looking at the city you have listed in your profile, your last location if you’ve opted into the Nearby Friends product and the city where you are using the internet.


If we get your location wrong, you can mark that you’re outside the affected area.

How To Activate The Facebook Safety Check

If you are in an area impacted by a disaster Facebook will send you a push notification asking if you are OK.

Tapping the “I’m Safe” button marks that you’re are safe.

All your friends are notified that you are safe.

Friends can also see a list of all the people impacted by the disaster and how they are doing.

If you’re safe, you can select “I’m Safe” and a notification and News Feed story will be generated with your update. Your Facebook friends can also mark you as safe.

facebook safety check

Facebook Safety Check

If you have friends in the area of a natural disaster and the tool has been activated, you will receive a notification about those friends that have marked themselves as safe. Clicking on this notification will take you to the Safety Check bookmark that will show you a list of their updates.

If you’re ever in a situation that would require you to use Safety Check, we hope it’s a tool that helps you stay connected to those you care about, and gives you the comfort of knowing your loved ones are safe.

When Is The Facebook Safety Check Triggered?

When Facebook launched their Facebook Safety Check feature in October 2014 as a way to let users tell friends that they’re OK in the wake of natural disasters. The initiative was expanded to include other emergency situations, such as terrorist attacks, but the company has come in for criticism in the past for its selectivity in activating Safety Check for some events but not others. Before the Paris tragedy, the Facebook Safety Check was only activated for natural disasters. Paris became the first time it was activated for a human induced event.

Updates To The Facebook Safety Check

In August of 2016, Venturebeat reported Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed that Facebook is working on a way to let users activate Safety Check of their own volition.

Zuckerberg stated, “If we’re building a community product, this is one of the moments of truth for us. How we judge whether Facebook is successful, it’s not just on whether you can share a photo of a fun moment or a night out with friends, but it’s also whether our community is strong enough and we give people the tools to keep people safe in those situations [emergencies]. We’re working on what you say. When Safety Check got started a couple of years ago, it was only for natural disasters. Unfortunately, since then we’ve had to expand it to terrorist 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.”



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