Facebook has activated its Safety Check feature in Nigeria this evening, following a deadly bombing in a marketplace that claimed the lives of at least 32 people. This is the second time in a week that the social networking company has used this tool.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but some are speculating that it could be the work of the armed extremist group Boko Haram, which people will probably remember from the kidnapping of schoolgirls.
Facebook users who are in Nigeria can inform their friends and loved ones that they’re okay by simply clicking on a link within the social network. Notifications will be sent out immediately to those you’re connected to, letting them know that you’re unharmed.
“After the Paris attacks last week, we made the decision to use Safety Check for more tragic events like this going forward,” wrote Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg on his Facebook page. “We’re now working quickly to develop criteria for the new policy and determine when and how this service can be most useful.”
Last Friday, Facebook’s Safety Check feature was activated for the Paris attacks — the first time the feature was made available for a non-natural disaster. While the feature was very helpful, Facebook also encountered criticism from people questioning why the tool hadn’t been activated for the recent attack in Beirut.
With this most recent attack however, Zuckerberg pointed out that he won’t be drawing attention to every such incident: “Unfortunately, these kinds of events are all too common, so I won’t post about all of them. A loss of human life anywhere is a tragedy, and we’re committed to doing our part to help people in more of these situations.”