More harm than good? Londoners slam Facebook's Safety Check
AFTER a massive fire broke out at a London apartment block, Facebook activated its Safety Check feature.
At least 12 people died when London's Grenfell Tower became engulfed in flames, with many people still unaccounted for.
And while Facebook's Safety Check was a helpful way for those living in the apartment complex to tell friends and family they were able to escape the inferno, some Londoners have suggested the feature could use some fine tuning.
After a number of people who do not live in proximity to the tower were promoted by Facebook to mark themselves as safe, the social media platform was criticised for generating unnecessary concern for friends and relatives.
According to Facebook, the algorithm-based safety feature is activated if enough people in an affected area post about an incident, with people nearby prompted to use the service.
My love/hate with Facebook Safety Check continues. Ftr, I am 7 miles, an hour car, 45 mins by tube, or 2&1/2 hour walk from the fire. pic.twitter.com/LBHqDSTKoJ— Bri Dehlinger (@BriDehlinger) June 14, 2017
However, the Grenfell Tower incident is the just the latest example of the feature doing more harm then good.
Just weeks earlier the feature was criticised for making the terrorist attack at London Bridge seem bigger and more widespread than it actually was by having too large of a proximity for people to mark themselves as safe.
London local Aaron Balick explained he refused to mark himself as 'safe' following the terror attack, feeling it created an over-inflated sense of danger.
"From what I understood about last night's event, my assumption was that my friends were probably OK. I hope that they would also assume that I was safe unless they heard otherwise," he told The Independent.
"For events on the scale of last night, the Facebook Safety Check reverses this assumption. It creates an implicit supposition that we are not safe until we let people know that we are.
"It creates a culture of hyper-vigilance that undermines our capacity to feel relatively secure about our environment."
After hearing these criticisms, Facebook said it was working to make the feature more accurate.
"We're working to improve Safety Check so we're better at prompting people in the affected area to mark themselves safe," a spokesman told Mashable.