Facebook explains why it enabled Safety Check for Paris but not other recent attacks

  In the immediate aftermath of the Paris attacks on Friday, many with loved ones living in the city received a new type of notification from Facebook. The social network activated a relatively new tool called Safety Check for the attacks, letting people in Paris easily tell their friends and that they were safe.
While the feature has been helpful for many, some pointed to its use in Paris but not for other recent attacks — like a twin suicide bombing that killed over 40 in Beiruit on Thursday — as yet another example of western bias that apparently values certain lives more than others.

On Saturday, Facebook saw fit to respond to those accusations in a blog post written by the company’s vice president of growth, Alex Schultz. In it, Schultz notes that this is the first time the company has enabled Safety Check for anything other than a natural disaster, events which the tool was originally designed for when it was released last year.

Like a natural disaster, he notes, during the attacks “Facebook became a place where people were sharing information and looking to understand the condition of their loved ones.” After discussing with Facebook employees on the ground, the company decided it was a good idea to turn on Safety Check. “There has to be a first time for trying something new, even in complex and sensitive times, and for us that was Paris.”

Now that Facebook has set a precedent for using Safety Check for terrorism and other violent events, it will need to figure out when and where to use the feature. From Schultz’s comments, it’s not clear if the team would have enabled it for Beruit. He includes the Lebanese city among “other parts of the world, where violence is more common and terrible things happen with distressing frequency. ” And he notes that “During an ongoing crisis, like war or epidemic, Safety Check in its current form is not that useful for people: because there isn’t a clear start or end point and, unfortunately, it’s impossible to know when someone is truly ‘safe.'”

That said, Schultz writes that “We want this tool to be available whenever and wherever it can help,” adding, “We will learn a lot from feedback on this launch.”

New Whatsapp Features for iPhone and Android!

Whatsapp Bookmark iOS

WhatsApp, the popular Facebook-owned messaging service, has started rolling out a new ‘Starred Messages’ feature for iOS users in the form of an app update. The feature aims to let users quickly access bookmarked messages including images, videos, or other content quickly.

WhatsApp users would now be able to ‘Star’ a message using tap and hold gesture. The message would then be saved in a separate new ‘Starred Messages’ tab. The feature is also available for WhatsApp Groups.

Starred Messages has been seeded to iOS users in the app version 2.12.7 and is likely to reach Androidand Windows Phone soon. The updated app is available to download form the App Store.

The more we rely on our smartphones for every facet of our lives, the more risk there is of losing important data if your phone gets lost, stolen or destroyed. Android already has some backup services built in, but the massively popular chat client WhatsApp has just announced a partnership with Google to make sure its 900 million users don’t lose anything important to them. Starting today, WhatsApp users on Android will have the option to back up their entire WhatsApp history right to Google Drive. The backup will include chat histories, voice messages, photos and video, and you’ll be able to restore all of that data to a new phone when you set up WhatsApp.

Unfortunately, as with many new Google features, this one will be coming by the ever-popular gradual rollout. This is a particularly long one — Google says the feature will become available over the next few months. Once it’s available, you’ll find the option in WhatsApp’s settings. Why it’ll take so long isn’t clear, so you’ll have to just start checking your app periodically if you want to take advantage of the new feature.


WOW, Facebook is actually making a Dislike Button!

Dislike Button

Now, Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook is finally building a Dislike button. The world has waited nearly a decade to show their disdain on Facebook with a single click.

“I think people have asked about the dislike button for many years. Today is a special day because today is the day I can say we’re working on it and shipping it,” Zuck said at a town hall meeting. He explained that the social network didn’t want to create a Reddit-style system of upvoting and downvoting. But then he basically said they were going do the same thing with Like and Dislike buttons — except framed very differently.

“What [users] really want is the ability to express empathy,” said the 31-year-old CEO. “Not every moment is a good moment.”

So no more of those awkward moments clicking Like or even the media-friendly “Recommend” when a terrible thing happens. Soon, you’ll finally be able to call bad things bad on Facebook.

I guess buying Dislikes will be common very soon, so may the Dislikes war begin!