After first introducing it in November last year, Facebook has now launched a new feature within Safety Check to better help people in times of emergency and crisis. Called Community Help and it allows victims to find for help nearby from all those who are willing. This feature has been rolled out to Indian users, and will be available for natural and accidental disasters.
To recall, Facebook had alongside the November announcement also revamped Safety Check itself. While initially only Facebook could activate the feature, users now have the power. Facebook explains that global crisis reporting agencies NC4 and iJET International will alert it that an incident has occurred and give it a title, and then it begins monitoring for posts about the incident in the area. If a lot of people are talking about the incident, they may be prompted to mark themselves safe, and invite others to do the same.
Getting back to Community Help. So now, when Safety Check is activated, and users are marking themselves as safe, they will now also see a new button called 'Find Help'. This button opens a new page where you can find help nearby within your community. Categories include things like food, water, shelter, transportation, baby supplies, equipment, toiletries, and a variety of other relief supplies and services that we learned are important for people in the recovery period after a crisis.
Alternatively, users can also give help to users in need by posting services on Community Help. "Since the feature is within Safety Check, it means all the people that are coming to Safety Check through notifications and friend invites can now access this feature without having to create separate groups or documents," Facebook's Social Good product designer, Preethi Chethan explains in a medium post.
People who post services on Community Help can also close out their requests or offers for help when they wish to. This helps in keeping the Community Help section stay relevant and updated. Furthermore, all posts have a 'message' button that links to Messenger or you can comment on a post that sends a notification to the person who posted.
Apart from India, Facebook is first rolling it out the feature in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Saudi Arabia to test the waters for the first couple of weeks. Also, Community Help will be available initially only during natural and accidental incidents, such as an earthquake or building fire. Facebook looks to eventually make it available for all countries and additional types of incidents.