Facebook Enables “Safety Check” Feature After Nigeria Bombings and Criticism

Facebook flips on "Safety Check" feature after attack in Nigeria and criticism

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg took to his profile wall to post that his company enabled “Safety Check”—a Facebook feature that allows users to check-in to assure loved ones they are safe in the event of a wide-spread emergency—after Nigeria was bombed in a presumed terrorist attack.

“We’ve activated Safety Check again after the bombing in Nigeria this evening. After the Paris attacks last week, we made the decision to use Safety Check for more tragic events like this going forward,” Zuckerberg wrote in his post.

Facebook was accused of bias recently after enabling the safety feature in the aftermath of the terrorist bombings in Paris, France. Thousands took the social media company to task in scathing comments on Facebook and Zuckerberg’s pages for not doing the same after terrorist attacks in countless other countries, most of them outside the Western world.

Image: File

While the Facebook wunderkind commented on enabling the feature in the wake of the Nigerian attack, he also made it clear he would not comment every time a disaster occurred.

“Unfortunately, these kinds of events are all too common, so I won’t post about all of them,”

Reuters reports that a bomb blast killed 32 and injured 80 yesterday at a market in Yola, a northeastern city of Nigeria. While no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, the speculation is that the militant Islamist group Boko Haram may be the culprit.

After Zuckerberg’s post, many users posted additional requests for Facebook to help in emergency situations, including setting up a similar feature for Amber alerts, using the feature during flooding season in South India, helping people in Taiwan against oppressed speech, and other cries for help around the globe.

The Facebook CEO also offered some words of comfort in his post, “Deaths from war are lower than ever, murder rates are generally dropping around the world, and — although it’s hard to believe — even terrorist attacks are declining. Please don’t let a small minority of extremists make you pessimistic about our future.”