Facebook activated its Safety Check system today following the tragic attack in Lahore, Pakistan in which dozens were killed by a suicide bomber. However, the activation didn’t function properly, as many in the U.S. and the U.K. received notifications from the social networking company asking them to check in and let their loved ones know that they’re safe. Facebook has since apologized, blaming the problem on a bug that it says has now been resolved.
Reports indicate that at least 63 people, mostly women and children, were killed and more than 300 injured during an attack on a children’s park in Lahore. Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaatul Ahrar (TTP-JA), a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban, is believed to have claimed responsibility.
Following the Paris terrorist attacks last year, Facebook drew criticism over its criteria for selecting which events to activate the Safety Check for. Facebook subsequently broadened its guidelines for when to implement the program, launching Safety Check in the aftermath of attacks in Nigeria, the floods in Chennai, India, earthquakes in northeast India and southern Taiwan, and attacks in Ankara, Turkey.
The premise of Safety Check is to allow users to notify their loved ones that they’re okay via Facebook. Originally unveiled following the devastating tsunami and earthquake that struck Japan, the service invites those in the immediate area to mark themselves as safe. However, with the Lahore attack, something went wrong with the geographic range settings, something that the company says is “counter to the product’s intent.”
— Sioned Treharne (@SionedTreharne) March 27, 2016