By Naomi Gleit, VP Social Good, Facebook
In times of crisis, connecting is more important than ever. Today we're announcing an update to Safety Check, called Community Help, that lets people find and give help such as food, shelter and transportation after a crisis.
Our belief is that the community can teach us new ways to use the platform. We saw people using Facebook to tell friends and family they were okay after crises, so in 2014 we launched Safety Check to make that behavior even easier. Since then, Safety Check has been activated hundreds of times, but we know we can do more to empower the community to help one another.
With Community Help people can find and give help, and message others directly to connect after a crisis. Posts can be viewed by category and location, making it easier for people to find the help they need.
Again, we saw the community do this on their own through Groups and posts, like in the aftermath of the flooding in Chennai, India, in December 2015, but we knew we could do more. We also talked with experts, humanitarian relief organizations and our own in-the-field research to learn how to make it easier for people to find and give help.
To start, we will make Community Help available for natural and accidental incidents, such as an earthquake or building fire. We're also starting in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and Saudi Arabia for the first couple of weeks, and as we learn more about how people use the product, we will look to improve it and make it available for all countries and additional types of incidents.
For the community to use Community Help after an incident, Safety Check must first be activated. For Safety Check to activate, two things need to happen:
- First, global crisis reporting agencies NC4 and iJET International alert Facebook that an incident has occurred and give it a title, and we begin monitoring for posts about the incident in the area.
- Second, if a lot of people are talking about the incident, they may be prompted to mark themselves safe, and invite others to do the same.
- And starting today, if an incident is a natural or accidental disaster, people will see Community Help. They can find or give help, and message others directly to connect from within Safety Check.
With every activation, we are continuing to learn how to make Safety Check and features like Community Help better for people in need. We will continue listening to feedback to make the tool more useful and relevant in the future.