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Facebook’s rapid deployment of new features assists in Paris crisis

The past weekend saw a series of terrible events unfold in Paris, France. Facebook reacted swiftly to the unfolding events by activating two features – one to assist in letting people know whether their friends and family members within Paris were safe, and another was a means of letting Parisians know that the world is thinking of them in their time of need.

Safety Check

Over a year ago, Facebook introduced Safety Check, a tool for notifying your loved ones that you are safe when a crisis occurs. This features allows you to mark yourself or others as safe, and check on the status of people you know. Safety Check is enabled by Facebook for specific events, and people that are in the affected areas will receive a Facebook notification that asks them to set their status as “safe” if they are not in danger.

This was the first time that Safety Check was enabled for an event that was not a natural disaster. Here is a more detailed video on how Safety Check works.

Show Your Support

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Facebook also rolled out a feature that allows their users to overlay the national flag of France on their profile images. Support has been overwhelming from all corners of the globe. If you want to enable this on your own profile, please:

  1. Go to Mark Zuckerberg’s profile (or any of your friends who recently activated this “temporary profile picture” feature).
  2. On the profile post noting his latest profile photo with the French flag overlaid, you’re see a button stating “Try It”. Click to preview this feature.
  3. Set your preferred profile photo, and click on “Use as Profile Picture”.

A platform was created to allow so many to ease the minds of their friends and family, and for the world to show support. This is not only a testament to the influence and reach of social media, but also to the people who utilise it.