Facebook has a new tool to help people find food and shelter during disasters
Facebook is ramping up its efforts to become a disaster and crisis response tool.
The social network is releasing a new "Community Help" feature in its main app, which will allow Facebook users to connect with those seeking shelter, food, and supplies in the wake of a natural disaster."To start, we will make Community Help available for natural and accidental incidents, such as an earthquake or building fire," Facebook VP of Social Good Naomi Gleit said in a statement. "We're also starting in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and Saudi Arabia for the first couple of weeks, and as we learn more about how people use the product, we will look to improve it and make it available for all countries and additional types of incidents."
The new Community Help hub is designed to complement Safety Check, Facebook's tool that lets people mark themselves as safe during a crisis. Facebook first announced the changes in November.
The company has previously been met with backlash for activating Safety Check for certain disasters, like the shooting at a Paris nightclub last year, and not others, like the 2015 bombings in Beirut and Lebanon. Now Safety Check is only enabled when enough people are posting about a crisis like an earthquake or shooting.
Safety Check was first enabled in 2014 for Typhoon Hagupit in the Philippines, and Facebook turned the feature on for the first time in the U.S. in early 2016 after a gunman massacred 50 people at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
Here are some screenshots of Facebook's new Community Help feature in action: