Facebook activates "Safety Check" after bombing in Nigeria

Facebook activates 'Safety Check' feature as Nigerian social media users criticise company for being selective concerning people’s safety

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Critics accused Facebook of valuing the lives of Western victims more than those in other regions

Facebook has activated the “Safety Check” feature after a deadly suicide bombing in Nigeria late on Tuesday following criticism by Nigerian users that the social media network was being selective concerning people’s safety.

The social network, usually activates the safety feature, which allows users to mark themselves as safe, during natural disasters, though not for bomb blast or suicide attacks.

Facebook however, activated it after Friday's gun and bomb attacks in Paris, generating criticism from some users because the feature was neither activated for suicide bombings in Beirut a day earlier nor in any Boko Haram attacks across Nigeria.

Yola, a northern province in Nigeria has experienced several attacks throughout this year.

Chief Executive of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg, announced in a post on his Facebook page, "After the Paris attacks last week, we made the decision to use Safety Check for more tragic events like this going forward," he said. Tuesday's blast at a Yola market killed at least 32 people and wounded 80 others.

"Unfortunately, these kinds of events are all too common, so I won't post about all of them” he added.

Mr Zuckerberg said "a loss of human life anywhere is a tragedy, and we're committed to doing our part to help people in more of these situations." 

Suicide bombings has been a new tactic for Boko Haram to inflict more casualties among the civilian population.

A general tactic of Boko Haram's is that he uses two or more suicide bombers in the same location. When people gather to help the victims of a bomb explosion, another suicide bomber explodes himself or herself, causing more civilian casualties.

Same tactics are also used by Boko Haram’s recent attacks in Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

TRTWorld and agencies