UK & US Facebook Users Abusing Safety Check Feature Meant For Nepal Victims

Nepal Earthquake

Nepal has faced two devastating earthquakes in a span of two weeks killing thousands and rendering more homeless and awaiting rescue and aid.  The Tech world has rallied behind Nepal by offering various tools aimed at helping survivors connect with their families as well as rely information on the earthquakes extent. These included Google through its Person Finder service, a free tool that helps friends and family members search for missing persons. People can request and provide information about missing persons on the site. Search is also available through SMS. VOIP app Viber allowed users to use its service Viber Out to make Voice calls  without being billed for the service. Others include , Apple through its iTunes service by pointing  users to a donation link for the American Red Cross as well as Airtel that allowed free calls among its Subscribers.

Facebook made available its Facebook Safety Check feature,  a tool that asks users in an area affected by disaster or tragedy if they are safe. Contacts can also find friends in the area, and in turn get notified about their status. However, the internet was awash  with reports that some Facebook users who are not anywhere near Nepal were using the Safety Check to mark themselves as “safe”. The tool asks the visitor if he or she is in the area affected by the May 12 earthquake and gives them the option to click “Yes, let my friends know.” Most of the users marking themselves as safe are from the United States and the UK.