Facebook has launched Safety Check, a feature that enables users to connect with loved ones during a disaster.
It works by allowing Facebook users to notify their Facebook friends that they are safe, and to check if their friends are safe too.
It is during a disaster or crisis that communication is critical for both people in the affected areas and for loved ones anxious for news.
If Facebook detects a user is located near a disaster, it will send them a Facebook notification asking if they are safe.
It determines a person's location by looking at the city they have listed in their profile, their last location if opted in to the Nearby Friends product, and the city where they are using the internet.
Users can click or tap the 'I'm safe' button to let friends know right away. Facebook will let the user know when their friends say they are safe. Users can also check a list of friends who may be affected by the disaster.
Only friends can see a person's safety status and the comments they share within Safety Check.
After the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Facebook engineers built the Disaster Messaging Board to make communication easier. They launched it a year later and the took received an overwhelming response.
A recent Facebook blog post says they have seen many people turn to the internet and social media to check if their friends and loved ones are safe.
"Safety Check is our way of helping our community during natural disasters. It gives an easy and simple way to say you are safe and check on family members".
Safety Check will be made available globally on iOS, Android, feature phones and desktop.