How To Use Facebook Safety Check For The Istanbul Attack & Check In On Your Friends

Facebook has activated its Safety Check for the Istanbul Atatürk Airport attack, a feature it launched in October 2014 in order to allow its users to alert their friends and family that they were safe following a natural disaster. However, Facebook chose to activate this feature in the aftermath of the Paris attacks last fall, and became the subject of controversy because it had not done the same for the Beirut attacks during the same time frame. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg subsequently announced that the social media giant would activate the Safety Check for "more human disasters going forward."

True to Zuckerberg's word, the Safety Check feature has since been activated during events other than natural disasters, including the Orlando nightclub shooting and terror attacks in Ankara. And on Tuesday, after explosions and gunfire at Istanbul Atatürk Airport killed 28 people and wounded 60, Facebook once again activated the feature.

Here's how it works: If a Facebook user is in an area affected by a disaster or attack, they receive a notification asking if they are okay. If they mark the "I'm safe" option, a notification will be sent to everyone on their friends list who has notifications enabled, and a post will appear on their timeline. Alternatively, if a user is known to be safe but is unable to access Facebook, somebody else on their friends list has the option of marking them safe, with the same results.

The Safety Check feature also provides some important, relevant information. Here is a screenshot of what someone would see if they were not in Istanbul and accessed Safety Check:

Safety Check classifies the type of disaster that took place — in this case, it was an explosion — and names the affected city or cities. It provides an emergency services number for those in Istanbul (112), allows users to see if they have any Facebook friends there, and provides users with an option to alert their friends that they are in fact in the affected area.

Furthermore, users can use the "all friends in area" drop-down menu to determine which friends have been marked safe and which friends have not. To enable notifications for Safety Check, click the drop down menu in the upper right-hand corner of the main box.

Image: Facebook (1)