It would seem that Facebook needs to fine-tune Safety Check once more. A recent event demonstrated that the tool developed by Facebook, which was intended to warn people if their loved ones or friends are out of harm’s way, is far from being operational.
Safety Check is a tool developed in Facebook’s backyard. The purpose of the feature is to detect dangerous events, such as terrorist attacks or natural disasters and to warn people who are in the immediate area. For instance, if the system recognized that there was a terrorist attack near a particular location, all the persons located in the vicinity will receive a message on their phones.
By responding to the message, their friends can see if that person was not harmed. The system is a very good idea, especially for people living in dangerous areas of the globe.
Unfortunately, the system is far from being operational, and last Sunday’s even proved that Facebook’s engineers should take another look at Safety Check.
Last Sunday, a terrorist attack hit Lahore, a city in Pakistan. The attack, which took place, Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park, claimed the lives of more than 65 people and injured 300.
According to the system’s specifications, one the attacks stopped, Facebook’s Safety Check should have kicked in, sending a notification to people from that particular area. Safety Check uses geotags to approximate the user’s position anywhere in the world.
So, instead of sending a notification to the people from the vicinity of the park, Safety Check transmits information in other parts of the globe. Thus, right after the attack, various persons from the United States, United Kingdom and India declared that they’ve received several notification on their phones. All the messages were the same: where you affected by the attack?
Typically, in this situation, the user has two options: either to click the SAFE button, if he or she is out of harm’s way or OUT if the user is not located anywhere that area.
Naturally, Facebook apologized for the unfortunate chain of events and declared that substantial efforts are being made in order detect and patch up the geolocation glitch.
But it seems that this wasn’t the first time the system failed to recognize a location. Facebook was criticized because it failed to activate the system after last year’s terrorist attacks which took place in Beirut.
However, all in all, it would seem that Safety Check is fairly accurate. According to a recent statistic posted by Facebook, Safety Check has helped approximately 950 million people receive news about their loved one since it was activated.