After the report of a small bomb explosion, it wasn’t a mistake to tell people in Bangkok to mark themselves as safe, Facebook Inc. said. How much more common the social network’s “safety check” alerts are going to become is defined by this example., it said.
Panic was caused on Tueday when people thought that they had to be worried about their loved ones after the alerts. It turned out that no one was injured and a protester was throwing small firecracker bombs at a government building.
After disasters such as the earthquake in Nepal or terrorist attacks in Paris, Facebook asks users in a certain geographic area to mark themselves safe and the social media platform used to decide internally about when it was appropriate to activate safety check. Large global crises tended to be the incidents that drew the company’s attention.
The power of safety check was handed over to its 1.8 billion users, who can now decide on what disasters merit the tool, by Facebook in November.
“This allows safety check to be used by more people, more often no matter how big or small the crisis is,” Facebook said. According to the company, compared with 39 times Facebook initiated safety check over the previous two years,, the alert has been used more than 300 times since June, when the company started testing to let the community trigger it.
Facebook will likely start sending more alerts that cause alarm over incidents that are benign, like what happened in Bangkok, by deferring the responsibility to its users, and therein lies the problem.
They will be less likely to equate an alert with a major disaster, as people get more used to safety check, the company said. The tool debuted for Nepal’s 2015 earthquake, which killed almost 9,000 people.
After people started talking locally about the threat from the Bangkok incident and after the incident was confirmed with a third party, the alert occurred, Facebook said. the ore people started talking about the threat, the more were the chances of the safety check algorithm being triggered.
Still, the social network may need to tread more carefully. Links to a story about a serious explosion that happened in 2015 were made by the alert for Bangkok’s government protester in error. While the company has vowed to address the issue, Facebook is facing criticism for the spread of fake and misleading news on its site.
One the other hand, in a business expansion Facebook acquired eye tribe for oculus eye-tracking software. The Eye Tribe is a company that tracks eye movement in virtual reality to improve the experience. The acquisition was made by Facebook Inc.’s Oculus.
In a series of tech acquisitions this year for Oculus, Eye Tribe is the latest. Because Facebook wants to take the lead in social interactions in VR, the company is especially interested in eye tracking. The ability to follow eye movement makes it easier to understand people’s expressions and let them communicate effectively with each other in a virtual world.
(Adapted from Bloomberg)