In the wake of the Lahore bombing, which took place Sunday, Facebook sent notifications to users as far away as Australia, asking them if they were safe. Facebook had enabled its "Safety Check" feature, which enables users to mark themselves safe, after the incident. Facebook has apologised for this error.
"We activated Safety Check in Lahore, Pakistan, after a bombing took place there. Unfortunately, many people not affected by the crisis received a notification asking if they were okay. We worked to resolve the issue and we apologise to anyone who mistakenly received the notification," a Facebook spokesperson was quoted by IANS as saying. "[T]his kind of bug is counter to the product's intent," said Facebook's disaster response team.
The Guardian reported that users in faraway places, including Sydney, Honolulu, Brussels, Ontario, Hong Kong, Cairo and New York, were sent messages and notifications. It also reported that several users received notifications asking them whether they have been affected by "the explosion", without sharing any context.
It is not known how many people received these notifications by mistake. However, Facebook apologised in a public postand worked quickly to resolve the issue.
Facebook's "Safety Check" feature was first introduced in 2011 after the tsunami and subsequent nuclear meltdown at Fukushima in Japan. Facebook also activated this feature during the Chennai floods last year, and when a powerful earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter Scale struck Manipur in January. Facebook recently activated the Safety Check in Brussels.