Facebook has announced that it’s extending its Safety Check feature to allow users to seek and offer help in times of emergency as well as notify friends and family that they’re safe.
Called Community Help, the new feature will let users offer things like food, shelter and transportation after a crisis and provide those seeking such things a means of finding access to them.
The feature will activate whenever Safety Check is triggered in a particular area whether as the result of a natural disaster or an accidental emergency such as a building fire.
To use Community Help a user will simply have to access Safety Check when it appears, after which they’ll be able to make a post seeking or offering help. Those seeking help will then be able to organize posts by category and location and directly message anyone offering what they need.
Just like Safety Check, this is an idea that’s been inspired by and grown from trends Facebook has picked up on in its own user base.
Having noticed that in times of disaster people tended to offer help to others in their community via Facebook posts and Groups, Facebook has now formalized a way to do so, saying "we knew we could do more."
Despite good intentions, Facebook's Safety Check hasn't had the smoothest run and Katherine Woo has explained the challenges of implementing the feature.
At launch, Community Help will be available in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia, with Facebook saying it’ll be rolled out to more countries at a later date.
You can see a video detailing Community Help below:
Sign up to receive daily breaking news, reviews, opinion, analysis, deals and more from the world of tech.
Emma Boyle is TechRadar’s ex-Gaming Editor, and is now a content developer and freelance journalist. She has written for magazines and websites including T3, Stuff and The Independent. Emma currently works as a Content Developer in Edinburgh.