When certain disaster strikes, Facebook users have become very much accustomed to checking their safety and their loved ones in order to provide further assurances to their families and friends that they are okay. Now, it looks like the social media giant is taking another step further, providing a platform for users to help out one another in times of crisis.
Facebook's New Community Help Tool
The Community Help tool, introduced and rolled out by Facebook on Wednesday, comes as an update and an upgrade to the already existing "Safety Check" mechanism in an attempt to better connect people in need in a more organized way.
About Facebook's Safety Check
According to TheWallStreetJornal, the Safety Check started in 2014 and was widely used right after the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks, when more than 4 million people marked and declared themselves safe on Facebook. It was then used for the very first time in the United States right after the Pulse nightclub shooting, in which a gunman killed 49 people in Orlando, Florida.
Having consulted several humanitarian relief organizations and experts, Facebook said that its billions of users can now message others directly to be able to locate and help those in need locally, such as by providing food, shelter, clothing, and transportation.
The Platform Was Already In Use Before Facebook
According to TheChristianScienceMonitor, Facebook is not the first social media company to use its existing platform of helping people help each other. Following the flooding in Baton Rouge, more than 180 hosts on popular home-sharing website Airbnb offered free accommodation to victims who lost their homes.
A slight different from Airbnb's tool, Facebook's Community Help mainly focuses on connecting people on its platform through a "virtual classified advertising section."
How The Platform Will Be Used
Facebook plans to first introduce the new tool for any natural and/or accidental incidents that may occur, such as building fires or earthquakes, in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Saudi Arabia and India. The company would then expand Community Help to other countries and other types of incidents.