Facebook is working on opening up its Safety Check feature to users, reports VentureBeat. Speaking at a town hall meeting in Rome today, Mark Zuckerberg revealed that the social giant is building on the feature to allow users to activate it themselves during emergencies. Though it’s not clear when the update will roll out, it should certainly help to address criticism the company has received regarding the way it has deployed Safety Check in the past.
Today’s meeting took place at Rome’s Luiss University, and the revelation came in response to a question about how Facebook plans on deploying Safety Check in the wake of the recent Italian earthquake. Zuckerberg stated that the company is devoting resources to creating tools that not only let people share stories but keep one another safe.
"The next thing we need to do is make it so that communities can trigger it themselves"
"When Safety Check got started a couple of years ago," he said, "it was only for natural disasters. Unfortunately since then we’ve had to expand it to terrorists 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 disasters."
After launching in late 2014, Safety Check was first deployed in response to the 2015 Nepalese earthquake. However, Facebook received criticism for activating the tool after the terror attacks in Paris, with critics saying the company favored Western concerns over events affecting people in places like Lebanon. Since then, the feature has been activated more broadly. By opening the tool to users, the goal of keeping users both connected and safe can hopefully be better achieved.