Facebook adds WhatsApp button to its revamped disaster-reporting feature

James Marshall
December 4, 2019

This central crisis hub seems a natural step in the evolution of Facebook's crisis tools, which began with the first major deployment of Safety Check after the April 2015 Nepal quake, was used the first time for a non-natural disaster that November following the terrorist attacks in Paris and was updated in 2016 to activate automatically when enough people started making posts about a crisis.

The new features will allow for photo and video sharing within the Crisis Response centre on Facebook. The firm previously allowed users to be able to request for or offer help while in areas beset by disaster using the Messenger app, it has now extended this same functionality to WhatsApp.

"We heard loud and clear from people that what they really needed was more information during times of crisis", Emily Dalton Smith, director of social impact product at Facebook, told CNet. This means that users will be able to offer or request help through the messaging app.

Facebook is expanding Crisis Response, its disaster-reporting and communications feature that's been used in 300 crises in more than 80 countries. For instance, if users are struck by a disaster, they can report about issues in their locality or about food supplies or such.

Still, it's a welcome improvement - one that just might help people get the help they need at the moment they need it. WhatsApp users who are affected by the tragic events can now ask for help from people, and can now expect to receive messages from responders as well.

Additionally, starting today, Facebook says it will now be able to share this data with state and local officials, as well as federal relief agencies.

Facebook is also trying to improve its disaster maps by making experts work at topics of displacement. Let's see how many of these updates will be released by Facebook, but it will definitely be of enormous help for people. The features are coming out today!

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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