Did you know, social media isn't simply for trolling celebrities,  perving at the holiday pics of Sam from the IT department, and accusing hard working journalists of posting clickbait? It can actually save lives.

Facebook are introducing a new feature called Safety Check. If the GPS on your smartphone or other devices detects that you're in the same area as a natural disaster, you get sent a message asking you to confirm your safety.

Assuming you are safe, change your status accordingly, or say that you're not in the area. You can also tag friends as being safe, should they be unable to so themselve.

"It can actually save lives"

The feature was first conceptualised following the tsunami that devastated much of the Western side of Japan in 2011. The Japanese Red Cross report that as many as 12.5 million people were affected by that event. It became apparent that social media could be used as an effective tool by the emergency services as the rescue operations began.

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 14.18.11

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 14.18.11

Should you be unfortunate enough to be caught in a natural disaster such as an avalanche, by registering your safety, not only will you stop loved ones from worrying about you, but also enable the emergency services to spend their time and resources looking by people who may still be trapped.

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