Facebook's Safety Check is Being Improved Again, This Time to Include Fundraising

Facebook's most polarising feature is being altered yet again. It's been working overtime recently in the wake of several incidents in the UK and Sweden, most recently the fire Shepherd's Bush. The most noteworthy change they're making is the ability to raise funds directly through the feature. In this way, people can take action directly and immediately.

This is significant because before, Safety Check was only really useful for people who wanted to assure others of their wellbeing, but given that you're far more likely to be hearing about a crisis than actually in it, there's little you can really do with that information. This way, you can actually take direct action. Personal fundraisers have been a component of Facebook since March, but this is the first instance of them being integrated with another service.

Additionally, if you do mark yourself safe, you can add a bit more detail about the situation, so it almost acts as a more situationally specific status update. People outside of the situation can also access more detailed information about the crisis, eliminating (or at least lessening) the need to check external news sources when you see the first influx of safety checks.

As always, the feature is being released on a rolling basis. Currently it's only available in very select areas of the US. Of course, we don't know when the next major disaster/crisis will be, so it's impossible to know when we'll be able to gauge the effectiveness of this update.

Fundraising is a big profit area for Facebook, cynical as that might sound. They're currently underselling GoFundMe by a significant margin, and the more convenient they make it to set up and donate within the platform, the more they'll eclipse them. Crises always have a kind of 'call to action' knock in effect which causes fundraising campaigns to spike, something which Facebook are using Safety Check to capitalise on.

On a less callous note, Facebook are trying to make Safety Check more comforting, as past reports have suggested that it's done more to cause fear than to assure people of their loved ones' safety. Another recent criticism has been that it's more of an attention grab than any kind of practical safety measure, but once again the ability to reveal more detail combats that. In addition to all this, Facebook have also made their Community Help service desktop compatible.

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