Facebook Safety Check Lets People In Paris Tell Friends They're Safe Tonight

The Friday terrorist attacks in Paris left as many as 140 people reported dead by 2 a.m. there, and left people with loved ones in the area scrambling to connect with them to confirm that they were safe. Meanwhile, a helpful invention called the Facebook Safety Check feature allowed people in Paris to mark themselves "safe" on the social media network, notifying their friends that they were OK. In fact, nearly 24 hours after the attack Friday night, Facebook tells Bustle that a staggering 4.1 million people have marked themselves safe using the tool, and 360 million people have been notified that their friends were safe during the attacks. At least 78 million people have had 183 million Facebook interactions related to the attacks in the last day alone.

Mark Zuckerburg announced the Safety Check feature in October of 2014, citing the Japanese tsunami as inspiration for the tool.

Over the last few years there have been many disasters and crises where people have turned to the Internet for help. Each time, we see people use Facebook to check on their loved ones and see if they're safe. Connecting with people is always valuable, but these are the moments when it matters most.

Safety Check is our way of helping our community during natural disasters and gives you an easy and simple way to say you’re safe and check on all your friends and family in one place.

It's meaningful to be in Tokyo to announce this because the great earthquake and tsunami a few years ago inspired us to build the first version of this for Japan. Now we're glad to have this ready to serve everyone in the world.

Though originally launched, in April of this year, for use during natural disasters, the tool can be employed during events like Friday's attacks as well. People who are in the area of an event like this will be located and prompted to mark themselves safe, and that status will then be shared.

You can also find friends you know are safe and mark them.

Hopefully this tool is giving Parisians and their loved ones some peace of mind in the aftermath of the horrific attacks.