Facebook enables safety check for Florida hurricane - WPSD Local 6: Your news, weather, and sports authority

Facebook enables safety check for Florida hurricane

Posted: Updated:

Facebook's safety check feature has been put into action 4 times in the United States, but never for a natural disaster affecting millions of people.

If you're not familiar with it, you'll probably see it over the next few days.

Less than a year ago, Facebook activated the safety check as a way friends and family can find out if a loved one near a disaster is OK.

It uses a couple of things to make that happen. First, it'll check the actual location of your friends using their location services. If they're in an affected area, they'll get a notification asking if they're OK.

If they haven't given Facebook permission to know their location, the social network will use the city they've listed in their profile.

Facebook will also look at where they use the internet. Friends will get a notification that they're in the path of this storm and whether they've checked in as safe. Friends can then send a message.

You'll also see any photos from the affected area and news reports.

A got an alert following the Paris terror attacks. I had eight friends in the affected area. Three had checked in as OK, but five had not responded.

When it first launched, only Facebook could issue a safety check, but now a community can activate it.

If a large number of people post a status about a specific incident and are in the affected area, they'll automatically be asked to mark themselves safe.

The safety check has already been activated for Hurricane Matthew. It will be the first time it has been implemented on such a large scale in the United States, so we will see how well it works.

Powered by Frankly