What is Facebook Crisis Response and how does it work?

Have you noticed that following life-threatening incidents such as natural disasters like earthquakes or hurricanes, or terrorist attacks, people that are in the affected area mark themselves as ‘safe’ on Facebook? This is part of Facebook’s Crisis Response tool, which acts as a central hub for the company’s safety-related tools. The social media giant has introduced these features to react to its increasing role in disaster relief as a way for users to stay connected and to check in on loved ones affected by potentially devastating global occurrences.

What is Facebook Crisis Response?

Crisis Response is a hub where all of Facebook’s safety tools are centralised in one place. It is designed to make it easier for people to find out more about recent incidents or crisis and access various tools to support recovery. The following tools are available in the Crisis Response Hub:

  • Mark Yourself Safe – or also known as Safety Check, is an easy way to let your friends and family know that you’re safe in case of an incident in your area. It also allows you to check on the status of friends and family. Safety check can be activated automatically by an influx of user posts and a confirmation from a third-party news or government source.


  • Give or Find Help – also know as Community Help, this feature directly connects you with other people in the affected area nearby to give or find help with sources like food, supplies and shelter.


  • Raise Money – this tool lets people create fundraisers and donate to support those affected by crisis. Many users also use the tool to support nonprofit organisations by encouraging people to donate to a chosen organisation they support rather than buy a gift for their birthday.


  • Get Information – as part of the hub, Facebook also introduced more crisis-related content from a variety of relevant sources such as links to articles, photos and videos that will help users learn more about the crisis and how to react or how they can help.

Facebook recently updated the tool to allow users to share information around what’s happening on the ground in case of a incidents or disasters. People are now even able to report road closures flooding, electricity outages and fires, as well as other dangers during a disaster.

The tool now also works with Facebook’s instant messaging app, WhatsApp. While the entire feature set isn’t coming to WhatsApp, users can offer or request help through the messaging app instead of just Facebook Messenger.

The social media giant has also partnered with hundreds of organisations to provide disaster maps and relief organisations with information about where to distribute supplies, based on aggregated, anonymised data via its “Data for Good” tools.

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