Facebook Activates 'Safety Check' for First Time in U.S. in Wake of Orlando Mass Shooting

Facebook Safety Check Activated in Orlando

In the aftermath of the deadly terrorist attack at an Orlando nightclub early Sunday morning, Facebook activated its "Safety Check" feature, which allows users who live in the vicinity of an area affected by a mass casualty event or terrorist attack to check in and say they are safe, making it easier for friends and family members to confirm that their loved ones are alive during the chaotic first hours after an emergency event.

Facebook had previously activated the tool during events in France, Belgium, Pakistan, Nigeria, and India, but this is the first time it has been used in the United States.

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"We hope the people in the area find the tool a helpful way to let their friends and family know they are okay," Facebook said in a statement.

They noted that the activation was generated by Facebook users this time. "Following the community-generated Safety Check activation this morning in Orlando, we have now activated Facebook-initiated Safety Check," Facebook's statement said.

At least 50 people were killed and many more wounded in the attack on the Pulse nightclub that began around 2 a.m. on Sunday. 

Next page: Why some are concerned about Facebook's selective activation of the system.