Ivory Coast attack: Facebook slammed for safety feature failure

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New York, March 15 (IANS) In the latest controversy over the implementation of its Safety Check tool, users are questioning social media giant Facebook why it failed to turn on the feature after an attack in Côte d’Ivoire on March 14.

Built in the wake of the 2011 tsunami in Japan, the Safety Check location tool allows users to “check-in” and assure their contacts that they are safe in a disaster area.

Dozens of people were killed in two separate terror attacks on March 14. While Turkey’s capital Ankara was hit by a car explosion in which 37 people died, in Côte d’Ivoire, a gunmen killed 12 beachgoers in Grand Bassam — a resort town near the country’s capital city Abidjan.

Although Facebook activated its Safety Check feature for users in Ankara, it did not activate the tool for people in Abidjan, Quartz reported.

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Users started questioning Facebook after company COO Sheryl Sandberg posted that the tool had been activated for people in Ankara.

People asked whether the social media company turned on the feature for people stuck in Grand Bassam.

Facebook, however, did not respond to questions regarding the non-activation of Safety Check feature in Côte d’Ivoire.

This is not the first time the company has come under fire for their selective use of the Safety Check tool.

Last November, the networking site activated the feature for attacks in Paris in which more than 130 people died, the first time it did so for a terrorist event.

But some questioned why the tool had been used for Paris and not Lebanon’s capital city Beirut, which had been hit by suicide bombings the previous day that killed 43 people.

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