Facebook is transforming disaster response—and in a good way, reports Wired magazine. Last June, the night that 29-year-old security guard Omar Mateen unleashed his fury at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, was the first time Facebook deployed its Safety Check tool for an event on American soil. Wired says the company debuted the service after Typhoon Ruby hit the Philippines in late 2014; since then its notifications have appeared in the feeds of more than a billion people worldwide, about 14 percent of the humans on earth. According to Patrick Meier, an expert on humanitarian crises and technology, Safety Check has already come to serve a fundamental need in disaster zones—giving people real-time answers about the specific individuals they care about in a mass event. Processing information at a scale and speed that was never possible before, Safety Check operates as almost a personalized breaking news service, Wired said.
Now, Facebook is getting ready to turn Safety Check into something much bigger. Wired quotes Safety Check product lead Katherine Woo as saying the company plans to fold the service into a “crisis hub,” a live, centralized repository for information and media about any given disaster. People will be able to not only check on the safety of individuals but also coordinate ways of responding in the physical world, follow news and chatter, and perhaps monitor all the live video pouring in from the scene. People already turn to Facebook for the latest news in a crisis, but soon the news will be powerfully organized by the company’s algorithms into a single stream, automatically generated almost as soon as people start talking about a crisis. READ MORE