In the wake of the Paris terror attacks, Israeli technology did its bit to help reassure millions of people around the world that their loved ones in Paris were safe.
“During the 24 hours after the terror attack, 4.1 million people checked in with friends and relatives using Facebook Safety Check, a technology developed by Facebook Israel’s research and development department,” said a spokesperson for Facebook Israel. “A total of 360 million people received messages that their loved ones were safe.”
Safety Check is a feature that Facebook has activated several times in the past, usually for natural disasters. The Paris attacks were the first time it was used to enable people to “check in” and let others know they were safe in a terror attack scenario. Facebook made that announcement in response to widespread criticism in the blogosphere about how the service had not been used in previous terror incidents in places like Baghdad, Beirut, and Kabul.
According to Alex Schultz, Facebook’s vice president of Growth, “We chose to activate Safety Check in Paris because we observed a lot of activity on Facebook as the events were unfolding. In the middle of a complex, uncertain situation affecting many people, Facebook became a place where people were sharing information and looking to understand the condition of their loved ones… This activation will change our policy around Safety Check and when we activate it for other serious and tragic incidents in the future. We want this tool to be available whenever and wherever it can help.”
For Facebook Israel’s top staff, Adi Sofer-Te’eni and Ro’i Tiger – the heads of Israeli market affairs and of research and development, respectively – Safety Check is part of the company’s commitment to using the Internet for good.
“It’s a concept that Mark (Facebook CEO Zuckerberg) has talked about. For us, it’s a great thing to be able to get up in the morning and not only do a challenging job, but one we know is helping people around the world,” said Tiger. “Facebook has become like a public square, used by over a billion people, so being able to leverage the platform to enable people to receive reassurance that their loved ones are safe is something we are very proud to be a part of.”
Read the full article at Times of Israel