After a deadly explosion shook the city of Lahore today, Facebook’s safety feature was activated but the social network seems to have messed up the location, asking people globally to safe-check them.
Today, a suicide bomber blew up outside Lahore’s Gulshan-i-Iqbal park, killing nearly 64 people and injuring over 200 and usually, such a deadly triggers Facebook into putting its “Safety Check” feature in action. The feature automatically sends notifications to people near the troubled/attacked area to “Safe”-check themselves so their friends on the social network can know their status.
What’s going on and why am I getting a Facebook safety check? pic.twitter.com/YhlopQrhfk
— ciaomichaella (@ciaomichaella) March 27, 2016
— Anke Knospe (@ankeknospe) March 27, 2016
— Jim Roberts (@nycjim) March 27, 2016
— Menna منّة (@TheMiinz) March 27, 2016
This time though, there seems to be something wrong with the system as soon after they turned it on, people from around the world have taken to Twitter and Facebook to wonder why they were being asked about their safety. People who have never even been to Pakistan received this notification and some even received a text message.
Even some of us here at TechJuice in Karachi received this notification. A screenshot is attached below,
While Facebook’s Safety Check is indeed a useful feature and a potentially incredible example of the power of social networking, it has remained a controversial tool and has attracted a lot of flake for being activated selectively for some tragedies and not for others. This new mess-up is going to fuel that criticism even more.
Update: Facebook has apologized for the mishap and is working to fix the issue. A statement released by company’s spokesman says, “We have activated Safety Check in Lahore. We apologize to anyone who mistakenly received a notification outside of Pakistan and are working to resolve the issue.”