Facebook Safety Check Gives Users Ability Warn, Connect, And Stay Safe In Disaster Or Crisis

One of the advantages that Twitter has over other social networks is its ability to offer real-time updates and information during disaster situations. For example, Twitter played an important role in relaying information during Hurricane Sandy a couple of years ago. Facebook isn't really designed in a way to compete with that, though the social network did figure out a way to make it easy to find out if your loved ones are safe during emergency situations. Through Facebook's new Safety Check feature, you can let your family and friends know you're safe, as well as check in on others in the area.

"We want to provide a helpful tool that people can use when major disasters strike, so we've created Safety Check -- a simple and easy way to say you're safe and check on others," Facebook said.

Facebook Safety Check

When a major disaster strikes, Safety Check will help you alert family and friends that you're doing fine. It also makes it easy to check on others in the affected area, allowing you to mark that your friends are safe. In terms of privacy, only your friends will see your safety status and the comments you share.

You don't have to participate in any of this if you don't want to. Safety Check is an opt-in feature, and if you do decide to activate it, you'll receive a Facebook notification asking if you're safe when a natural disaster strikes in your area. If Facebook gets your location wrong -- it determines your whereabouts by looking at the city in your profile, your last location if opted in to the Nearby Friends product, and the city where you're using the Internet -- you can mark that you're outside the affected area.

Introducing Safety Check from Facebook on Vimeo.

"Safety Check is our way of helping our community during natural disasters and gives you an easy and simple way to say you’re safe and check on all your friends and family in one place," Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement.

As of right now, Safety Check only applies to natural disasters, like hurricanes and floods, etc. Over time, however, Zuckerberg says it will expand to include more types of issues.