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Facebook Safety Check turned on for Nigeria Boko Haram bombing, after Paris attacks controversy

 

Facebook has turned on its Safety Check feature for the first time since the Paris attacks.The site activated the tool for a bombing in Nigeria, believed to have been perpetrated by Boko Haram. It is the first time since the site was criticised for turning on the feature in the wake of Isis attacks in Paris but not in Beirut, and the second time it has been turned on in five days.

Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook was turning on the feature after a suspected Boko Haram bomb left 32 people dead.

The site said that it was now looking to “develop criteria for the new policy” so that it can decide when and how to use Safety Check.

The site’s tool checks for Facebook users that are thought to be in a certain location and asks them to mark themselves as safe. Safety Check was built for natural disasters, but it was turned on for the first time for a human tragedy last week.

Some had said that by opting to turn the feature on for an attack in Lebanon but not France, it was showing a bias and implying that deaths in the Middle East mattered less than those in Europe. Facebook explained that it hadn’t ever expected to turn the feature on for any human disaster, but gave little elaboration on why it had chosen the Paris attacks as the time to change that policy.

In the wake of that controversy, Facebook said that it would now turn the feature for “more human disasters”. And it has now turned it on for the first time since the Paris attacks.

The night-time bomb blast in Yola in the north east of Nigeria killed 32, and wounded 80 more. It was blamed on Boko Haram, though it hasn’t claimed responsibility for the attacks.

“We’ve activated Safety Check again after the bombing in Nigeria this evening,” wrote Mark Zuckerberg in a post after it was turned on.

“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.”

 

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