Sunday 25 August 2019

Paris Terror Attacks: Facebook criticised for Paris check-in as four million log in to say they are safe

David Kearns

More than four million people have used Facebook’s Safety Check feature to let their loved ones know they were safe after the Paris attacks.

Friday night was the first time the check-in feature, which allows Facebook users to say they’re safe during emergencies, was activated during a non-natural disaster.

Facebook enables the to allow people to let their friends know that they were in the affected area at the click of a button when communications can otherwise be difficult. 

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Moments after news of the Paris attacks broke, Facebook's "safety check-in" was made available to those in the French capital.

However, some have criticised Facebook for not activating the feature after the twin suicide attacks in Beirut a day earlier – where at least 43 people were killed and 250 injured.

In a post shared more than 10,000 times on Facebook Lebanese blogger Joey Ayoud wrote: “We don't get a safe button on Facebook.

“We don't get late night statements from the most powerful men and women alive and millions of online users.

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“We don't change policies which will affect the lives of countless innocent refugees.

“I say this with no resentment whatsoever, just sadness.

“It's a hard thing to realise that for all that was said... most of us members of this curious species, are still excluded from the dominant concerns of the world.

“My thoughts are with all the victims of today’s horrific attacks, and my thoughts are with all those who will suffer serious discrimination as a result of the actions of a few mass murderers and the failure of humanity’s imagination to see itself as a unified entity.”

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He added: “In Lebanon we experience war and its consequences more than French people do.

“My only hope is that we can be strong enough to generate the opposite response to what these criminals intended.

“I want to be optimistic enough to say that we’re getting there, wherever ‘there’ might be.”

Addressing the criticism, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg said users were right to ask why the function was put in place in one location and not the other.

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"Until yesterday, our policy was only to activate safety check for natural disasters. We just changed this and now plan to activate safety check for more human disasters going forward as well," he wrote in a Facebook post.

“We care about all people equally, and we will work hard to help people suffering in as many of these situations as we can.”

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