Facebook safety checks impact on users of the LastQuake app


One of the hypotheses that came out from the preliminary report was that the activation of Facebook safety check could impact on LastQuake safety check use. In between the two reports, Facebook tool has evolved and its launch is more based on the contents posted by the users. It has also been integrated to a larger disaster response system including community help and information about the disaster. This change has strengthened the difficulties to systematically track these launches. However, it appeared that a safety check was issued by Facebook in Mexico on 19 September 2017 (Figure ). A request about “Mexico earthquake” on Google would directly give basic information and a link to Google person finder and to Facebook safety check. However, no data was available on how many people actually used these tools. This launch did not impact LastQuake safety check use. As argued above, the feature is not meant to compete with Facebook’s, but to complete it especially for non-social media users and when SMS are more relevant. This was the case for instance during the powerful 7.3 earthquake hit the border region Iran and Iraq. A large number of Iranians criticised Facebook for not activating its safety check feature immediately. Facebook finally said Safety Check had been but the site was blocked by the Iranian government.

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Applicable to:

Cultural Factors: Communication, Social networks

Hazards: Natural hazards

Disaster Phases: Response

Types of Actors Concerned: Non-active citizens, Media, NGOs