Facebook’s new Safety Check feature will now allow users to let friends and family know that they are safe, as well as check on others on an affected area after a major disaster.

After the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Facebook’s Japanese engineers took the first step towards creating a product to improve the experience on reconnecting after a disaster.

According to Facebook News:

They built the Disaster Message Board to make it easier to communicate with others. They launched a test of the tool a year later and the response was overwhelming.

Facebook is often the first place that people turn to when checking on the status of friends and loved ones involved in major disasters.

Facebook continued work on the Disaster Message Board, incorporating what they learned, and the final product was Safety Check, which will be available globally on Android, iOS, feature phones and desktop.

This is how Safety Check Works:

When the tool is activated after a natural disaster and if you’re in the affected area, you’ll receive a Facebook notification asking if you’re safe.

Facebook will determine your location by looking at the city you have listed in your profile, your last location if you’ve opted in to the Nearby Friends product, and the city where you are using the internet.

If Facebook get your location wrong, you can mark that you’re outside the affected area.

If you’re safe, you can select “I’m Safe” and a notification and News Feed story will be generated with your update. Your friends can also mark you as safe.

If you have friends in the area of a natural disaster and the tool has been activated, you will receive a notification about those friends that have marked themselves as safe. Clicking on this notification will take you to the Safety Check bookmark that will show you a list of their updates.

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