Facebook activates Safety Check function that allows Paris users let loved ones know they’re OK after attacks

Facebook is asking users in Paris to check in on the social network and let their loved ones know they are safe.

The Safety Check system was launched in October 2014 and was inspired by the 2011 tsunami in Japan, which affected 12.5 million people, saw 400,000 evacuees, and nearly 16,000 deaths. The social network activated the program on Friday night to allow people in Paris to update their friends and family around the .

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The move followed a devastating attack on the French capital in at least three locations: a restaurant, outside the national stadium where the French team was playing the Germans and inside a concert theatre, where police say 100 people were killed. In all, early estimates suggest 140 people are dead.

@facebook you just blew my mind! #FusilladeParis #fusillade #ParisAttacks #safetycheck pic.twitter.com/xyXMvWUqje

— Awatif BENTAHAR (@AWATIFB) November 14, 2015

The Facebook Safety Check detects users in the area of a mass casualty event and asks them to “check in” that they are safe. It sent out the notifications on Friday evening, and even Canadian users visiting France were asked to participate. Once someone clicks “I’m Safe” that fact is posted to their newsfeed for all their friends to see.

Safety Check was first used during the 2014 Nepal earthquake and again this past September during an earthquake in Chile.

Don't forget to tell your friends on Facebook that you're safe with #SafetyCheck pic.twitter.com/Dm3XmSQqzn

— Raphael Diai (@Ralfone1) November 14, 2015

It was intended to be used in the event of natural disasters, but in the light of Friday’s attacks, it can also be deployed in the wake of human-made tragedy.

“When disasters happen, people need to know their loved ones are safe. It’s moments like this that being able to connect really matters,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post about the first time they activated Safety Check.

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