This article originally appeared on 60 Second Social.
A second earthquake hit Nepal yesterday near Kathmandu and in response Facebook activated their Safety Check feature for a second time in recent weeks.
However the feature of the social network which is intended to allow you to inform friends and loved ones that you are safe if you are in the affected area is now being abused by users nowhere near the disaster.
If Facebook believes you are in the affected area then it sends a prompt on your news feed allowing you to check in, this then notifies all of your friends you are safe and it sends a notification directly to their profile. However, even if you are not in the area and you don’t get the prompt it is still possible to get to the safety check in page.
I’m not going to tell you how to get to the safety check page, however here is is below when I access it from my own account.
In order for me to use this feature all I have to do is to click on the, “Yes, let my friends know” link above. As you can see none of my friends have used this feature which is just as well because none of them are in the affected area.
However, bizarrely and for whatever reason, people seem to think it is funny/trendy/cool to abuse the feature and are checking themselves in as safe…from the UK…
This is the Northern Irish First Minister Peter Robinson checking in as safe.
He is at home, in Belfast. He is not alone either, multiple users have reported that their friends have been using the safety check feature from their homes in the UK. This is not a mistake from Facebook’s side either, people are not getting prompted to do this by accident from the social network. No, in order to do this you have to go out of your way to find the page to actually check in on so why people think this is appealing, funny or smart is beyond me.
Why are people on Facebook marking themselves as safe on the Nepal safety check?! You live in Leeds..
— Aaron Bumby (@Aaron_Bumby) May 12, 2015
Find it sick that people are doing the safety check thing on Facebook for the Nepal earthquakes. You aren't in the area and people are dying
— Liam McClean (@CharlieMcClean) May 12, 2015
It goes without saying that this feature is designed to let people know you are safe if you are in an area which is genuinely suffering a disaster at the time. Please refrain from abusing it, it does nothing to help anyone and it is not smart or funny.
The feature should only be used if you are in an area which is affected and receive a prompt to check in on your news feed.
About The Author
Mark is the founder of 60 Second Social media where he provides social media news and digital marketing analysis. He has an Advanced Diploma in Psychology and a Diploma in Digital Marketing And Social Media. You can follow him on Twitter here. You can also follow 60 Second Social on Twitter here. Or you can drop Mark an email at, [email protected]