Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) apologized on Sunday night for a bug that requested the activation of the “Safety Check” to people who were not in the Pakistani city of Lahore, where a suicide bomber killed at least 65 people in injured more than 280 on Sunday.
Safety Check is a feature developed by Facebook’s Disaster Response, that allows people to activate a green check, indicating friends and family that they are safe in the middle of a catastrophic event. For instance, when a terrorist attack occurred in November last year in Paris, people were requested if they wanted to activate their “safety check”.
When someone opens the Safety Check page, they can immediately look up which friends are in an affected area, and which of them has announced they are safe under the activation of the feature. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Sunday that the social network giant was going to activate the function in Pakistan.
On Sunday a suicide bomber killed dozens of people in the parking area of the Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, just a few feet away from the children’s area, as reported by Pulse Headlines. Immediately, world institutions condemned the attacks and sent help to the country.
A spokesman for the White House said the U.S. will continue to work with counterparts in Pakistan and across the region to root out the scourge of terrorism. On the other hand, Facebook said that it hopes the people in the area of the bombing find Safety Check as an useful way to let their friends and family know they are okay.
However, the “Safety Check” notification appeared on Sunday to thousands of people worldwide who were not in the affected area of the bombing. For instance, an user called Amy Leigh Moore said that she got the announcement in Oklahoma, but she is glad that Facebook “cares about people”.
“Unfortunately, many people not affected by the crisis received a notification asking if they were okay. This kind of bug is counter to our intent. We worked quickly to resolve the issue and we apologize to anyone who mistakenly received the notification.” Said Facebook in a statement published Sunday night.
It appears that Facebook’s Safety Check causes controversy every time it is activated. When Mark Zuckerberg condemned the terrorist attack at his Facebook Page on Sunday, one of the most upvoted comments, written by Kent Russel, criticized that the social network has not activated safety checks in Syria.
Mark Zuckerberg has sharply condemned the attack in Pakistan
Facebook founder and CEO said on Sunday that over the last two months, the social network has activated Safety Check several times, adding that all terrorist attacks have a common thread, which is to “turn members of a community against each other”.
“I believe the only sustainable way to fight back against those who seek to divide us is to create a world where understanding and empathy can spread faster than hate, and where every single person in every country feels connected and cared for and loved.” Said Zuckerberg on Sunday.