Facebook Mistakenly Send Safety Check Warnings About the Lahore Bombing Worldwide
Thanks for the concern Facebook but Wrexham and Pakistan really aren't in the same area pic.twitter.com/VADIH4gudB— cam (@camvallen) 27 March 2016
This brutal, abhorrent attack certainly warranted Facebook's 'Safety Check' feature, just perhaps not quite on the scale it ended up spanning. People as far flung as Australia, Europe and the Americas were asked to mark themselves safe, as Facebook had detected that they were dangerously close to the site of the explosion.
Facebook's errant "explosion" texts, which don't even specify "Pakistan," are even worse than the app/browser issue. pic.twitter.com/175rCOaIVM— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) 27 March 2016
The real issue was that the messages didn't necessarily specify which 'explosion' it was on about, likely alarming, or even panicking the recipient. Facebook posted an official apology, citing the issue as a 'bug', but offering no further clarity beyond that.
This isn't the first time the feature has landed Facebook in hot water. It was used during the Paris attacks, but not for the bombings in Beirut which had occurred the previous day. The argument they used at the time was that the feature was only effective for single, isolated incidents in its current form, rather than any kind of ongoing conflict. Even so, they pledged to be more even-handed with it going forward.
The biggest lesson to be learned from this is that the safety check should always specify the location in the message, regardless of whether it's sent via text, notification or whatever else. It's hard to say whether the bug had any negative impact on the feature's use in the actual danger area, but it seems unlikely, since anyone mistakenly marked as nearby would have to have been either very stupid or kind of evil to then mark themselves safe (ie nearby) and throw the whole thing out of whack.
Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @Songbird_Callum
Facebook Mistakenly Send Safety Check Warnings About the Lahore Bombing Worldwide Reviewed by Callum Davies on Tuesday, March 29, 2016 Rating: