Back in 2014, Facebook released a tool called "Safety Check" that was designed to let people impacted by natural disasters check in to let their friends and families know they were safe. Originally, the tool was only intended to be used during events like Hurricane Sandy, or the earthquakes that shook Japan.
But, four months ago, Facebook extended the tool to be used in Paris, after terrorist attacks in its northern suburb, Saint-Denis. During that attack, terrorists attacked a massive crowd attending a concert, as well as nearby restaurants.
In light of the most recent terrorist attack in Brussels, Facebook has extended the tool once again. It works by prompting Facebook users in the area to confirm they're safe, then pushes that confirmation out to their friends list.
Users can also report that other friends are safe or unsafe, and there is an additional option to select, "Not in the area."
Although Safety Check is meant to bring peace of mind to people who are concerned for their loved ones, as it becomes more widely known, if someone does not check in, it could cause reason to panic.
As of right now, the feature has only been used a few times in instances like these. So, any family or friends you're concerned for may not realize that this is an option. If you don't see a notification in your Facebook feed letting you know they're safe, that doesn't necessarily mean that they've been harmed. For now, this is just another potential tool to help you get in touch with them.
Safety Check is not the only tool you can turn to if you'd like to confirm the well-being of a loved one in the area. The Dutch Red Cross has set up a website called "I am safe," where people can check in.
This isn't the only way Facebook is making an effort to lend a helping hand when it comes to terrorism. Earlier this year, the company announced it would give free advertising to anti-terrorism activists.