Last Sunday, the world awoke to news of an attack in Pakistan. Some awoke with Facebook’s Safety Check notifications asking them whether they are safe and if they should let their friends and family know that they are safe. Some were sad and angry because of the attacks, but some were left baffled and confused. What’s up with the notifications?
And that is what half the receivers were wondering about. The Safety Check is the social media’s tool that helps users keep in touch when in an area affected by disasters or attacks. It automatically sends users a notification asking if they are safe. Once the user clicks “yes, let my friends know,” the tool notifies the user’s Facebook friends, reports CNET.
This Sunday, however, after the social networking site activated its Safety Check tool for the eighth time this year, it has brought confusion to some instead. A bug, according to Forbes, has caused the tool to send a notification to many users located thousands of miles away from the bombing attack.
Users from the U.S., UK and other countries have taken to Twitter their confusion after receiving the notification that says “Are you OK? It looks like you’re in the area affected by The Explosion in Gulshan-i-lqbal Park, Lahore, Pakistan that left 69 people dead and around 300 wounded. Let friends know that you’re safe,” reports The Verge. The number of users who have mistakenly received the message is not yet clear as of the moment.
Meanwhile, Facebook has admitted in a post that the message was caused by a bug, and that it is already working to fix it. It also explained that it hoped users within the affected area find the tool a helpful way to let family and friends know they’re safe.
The post also explained the mistake, saying it was unfortunate the message was sent to users not in the affected area. The post also said that “this kind of bug is counter to our intent. We worked quickly to resolve the issue and we apologize to anyone who mistakenly received the notification.”
The Safety Check tool was first launched in 2014 so users can mark themselves and others as “Safe,” “Not in the area” or “Unsafe” following natural disasters. Last November’s Paris attacks is the first time it was used for a man-made disaster, which the social media giant says is still on testing period for that kind of use.
It has since then been activated for the floods in Chennai, earthquakes in Nepal and Southern Taiwan and the recent terrorist attacks that happened in Nigeria, Turkey and Brussels. According to CNN, Facebook says that last year, more than 950 million people have been able to receive a notification saying a friend was safe.
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