Facebook launch “Crisis Response” for the Alexandra Fires in Gauteng

Facebook launch "Crisis Response" for the Alexandra Fires in Gauteng

Facebook launched “Crisis Response” for the Alexandra Fires in Gauteng where over 500 homes were tragically destroyed.


Over 500 homes have been destroyed in Alexandra after a fire ripped through the informal settlement yesterday (6 December 2018) leaving many homeless and destitute. The blaze broke out at about 4 pm on Thursday afternoon, however, it’s not yet clear what sparked the fire.

The Facebook Crisis Response feature was activated late last night giving information on the fires and creating a space to help the South Africans in need.

“When an incident such as an earthquake, hurricane, mass shooting or building collapse occurs where people might be in danger, a global crisis reporting agency alerts Facebook.

If a lot of people in the affected area are posting about the incident, Safety Check will be activated and those people in the area may receive a notification from Facebook to mark themselves safe. People who click the Safety Check notification will also be able to see if any of their friends are in the affected area or have marked themselves safe.”

Hundreds of South Africans are using the feature to offer clothing, bedding, food and even entire homes to those left displaced by the fires.

Facebook launch "Crisis Response" for the Alexandra Fires in Gauteng

Facebook Crisis Response was first developed by Facebook engineers, inspired by people’s use of social media to connect with friends and family in the wake of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. It was officially introduced on October 15, 2014 and its first major deployment was on Saturday, April 25, 2015, in the wake of the April 2015 Nepal earthquake.

On June 2, 2016, Facebook announced that it would start experimenting with community-activated Safety Checks. With the new system, Safety Check would be activated based on combination of a certain number of people posting about a particular crisis plus an alert from one of Facebook’s third-party sources. Users would also be able to share and spread the word about the Safety Check once it was activated. Facebook hoped the changes would lead to more consistent, frequent, and streamlined deployments around the world.

On February 8, 2017, Facebook introduced a Community Help feature to the Safety Check crisis response tool. It allows users to search through categorized posts, offer local assistance, and connect with providers over Facebook Messenger. In June 2017, Facebook announced several updates to Safety Check, including the Community Help feature coming to desktops. It was also made possible for users to start fundraisers from within Safety Check.

To help the Alexandra victims, click here.

Sources: Facebook Crisis Response
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Brent Lindeque is the founder and man in charge at Good Things Guy. Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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