The biggest social media platform around the world has decided to make its Safety Check even more useful by adding a Community Help feature to its crisis response tool. With this new addition, whenever Facebook users get marked as safe, they are then sent to a page that will help them get assistance or give a hand to those that need help in times of natural calamities and other emergencies. Users can also search posts according to location or category like food, water, shelter, transportation, infant supplies and equipment. Back in November of last year, Facebook had previewed the Community Help functionality.
Ever since Facebook introduced the Safety Check crisis response tool, it has been a colossal help for netizens especially in times of disasters, hurricanes, and even terrorist attacks, specifically in trying to determine if family and friends are safe in an affected region. Facebook had drawn some flak before over its decisions on when to activate the tool, so starting in 2016, it stated that it would no longer enable Safety Checks on its own. What would happen now is that the tool would rely on user activity in order to produce alerts automatically, monitoring specific keywords like “shooting,” “earthquake,” or “explosion” in highly populated locations. To date, Facebook has enabled the crisis response tool around the world over three hundred times.
As for the Community Help feature, Facebook was inspired to create it after observing how its users tried to pool their resources and efforts in helping those in need in times of crisis. The social media giant also saw issues with missed connections, most notably the response to the Fort McMurray wildfire that happened in the province of Alberta in Western Canada in May of last year.
If Community Help existed at that time, it would have helped immensely in connecting those affected with those than can offer assistance, like temporary shelter, for instance. With Community Help, Facebook has essentially created an easy to access venue where both the needy and the helpful can get connected. Thus, every post on the Community Help pages will come with a special message button to allow people to launch a private message conversation with each other in order to provide any form of assistance to the affected.
According to Facebook, the Community Help feature will first be deployed in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, and Saudi Arabia. Pretty soon, the tool should also roll out to all 1.8 billion users of Facebook around the world.
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