Distraught loved ones turned to social media in hopes of connecting with missing concertgoers following Monday night’s deadly terror attack that occurred at the conclusion of an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena.
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One video posted online portrayed a frantic scene, showing thousands of people rushing from the sold out arena that seats 21,000, after the explosion that killed at least 22 people and left more than 50 injured. Shortly after, Facebook activated its’ safety check feature, which the social media giant says allowed users at the concert or in the Manchester area to let others know they were safe.
“Our hearts go out to the people affected by the tragic events in Manchester and we are offering full assistance to the authorities as they investigate this awful attack. Facebook’s community activated Safety Check in Manchester on Monday May 22 at 11:57 PM local time. Safety Check is a simple and easy way to say you’re safe and check on others after a major disaster or crisis. We hope the people in the area found the tool a helpful way to let their friends and family know they are okay,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.
The safety check has been activated more than 600 times in two years and was last used in the UK last March during the Westminster attack in London. According to Facebook, it is enacted after global crisis reporting agencies NC4 and iJET International alert the company about an incident. Facebook then begins to monitor for posts about the incident, in the area, and if a lot of people are talking about it, they may be prompted to check in and mark themselves safe and invite others to do the same.
Despite this, the social media giant still faces criticism for the way it monitors some extremist content and has come under fire over recent incidents involving violence that were streamed live.