Facebook activates 'safety check' feature in Florida for Hurricane

Facebook activates 'safety check' feature in Florida for Hurricane
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Facebook has activated its “safety check” feature in Florida in response to Hurricane Matthew.

The feature allows users to mark themselves as safe in the midst of major disasters. Facebook’s current use in Florida applies to 125 cities, according to the page hosting the alert, but that number rose from earlier on Friday.

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It had already activated the feature in response to the hurricane in the Bahamas and in Haiti, where more than 200 people were reportedly killed because of the storm.

President Obama declared a state of emergency in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina on Thursday as officials there braced for the storm. Many have been evacuated from coastal cities this week.

Facebook has increasingly been using the safety check feature to respond to major disasters around the world.

Traditionally, the feature was used after natural disasters, like an earthquake, but is now also deployed after major terrorism incidents like the attack in Paris last year. It was recently activated for a protest for the first time, during demonstrations over police shootings.

Users can also now activate safety check. If enough people post about an event and are in an area where there’s a crisis, the company says it will be prompted to let users' Facebook friends know they are safe.