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Facebook activates ‘Safety Check’ after Orlando massacre

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Reginald Wetzel
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The tool helps users notify friends about their safety during disasters

Facebook Safety Check Credit: Facebook

Facebook activated its Safety Check tool after the killings at an Orlando nightclub early Sunday, making it the first time the service was used in the U.S.

A gunman opened fire at the nightclub, killing at least 50 people in what President Barack Obama said was being investigated as an act of terrorism.

Facebook said it has over the last few months both improved the launch process to make it easier and quicker to activate the tool, while also testing ways to let users identify and elevate local crises.

We hope the people in the area find the tool a helpful way to let their friends and family know they are okay, a spokeswoman for the social networking company said on Sunday.

Between January and May this year, Facebook activated Safety Check 17 times compared to 11 instances in the previous two years.

Facebook has broadened the list of disasters for which it activates Safety Check to include terror attacks, starting with the Paris attacks in November last year.

The company decided to use the tool in a terror attack for the first time in Paris after it was observed that Facebook became a place where people were sharing information and looking to understand the condition of their loved ones, according to a company post at the time.

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Reginald Wetzel
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