Facebook’s “safety check” is one of the most-used emergency tools in the world. The feature lets you publicly notify your friends and family that you’re safe after an emergency event such as a natural disaster, shooting, or terrorist attack. For months, users have been complaining that Facebook’s own safety check function was too clunky and inconsistent. For a variety of reasons, it hadn’t performed as well in moments like a truck crashing into pedestrians in Toronto this week, as it had in other recent occasions.
“We have heard loud and clear that people want a simpler way to mark themselves as safe,” Alex Schultz, Facebook’s chief product officer, wrote in a blog post. “So we’re making an important change to safety check. Starting today, if you mark yourself as safe or injured on Facebook, you can continue to mark yourself as safe on other apps and websites around the world.” Schultz also said the company would make a related change to encourage users to mark themselves as safe online. Safety check will now work on other sites including Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, all which “are critical for friends and family of those affected by events,” Schultz said.