Where was Facebook’s Safety Check During Hurricane Irma?




By Russell Williams


As the Caribbean awoke to the most powerful hurricane in the Atlantic for the last decade, users of FaceBook might have expected to be able to use FaceBook’s Safety Check Feature, however it was conspicuous by its absence!


Hurricane Irma was Missing from Safety Check

When I contacted friends and family at 5am ECT (Eastern Caribbean Time), I suggested that they report their status using the FaceBook Safety Check feature, however the option was not available. Having checked for Hurricane Irma in the Safety Check system myself at 6 a.m. ECT it was still not possible to report your status for Hurricane Irma, and I posted to that effect on FaceBook. Approximately, ninety minutes later, I received comments indicating that the feature was available.




FaceBook Were Tardy

Given that Hurricane Irma had been anticipated since the weekend, and as predicted by forecasters made landfall in Antigua and Barbuda and much of the Eastern Caribbean on the morning of the 6th September, why was the feature missing for so long?

Despite the impending disaster being anticipated so far in advance, why were Caribbean FaceBook users unable to make use of what has become a standard feature of FaceBook during times of disaster? Why was FaceBook seemingly prodded into action? Were FaceBook’s staff asleep at the switch or were there some other reasons for this apparent lapse or in-action? I suspect we will never know! However, with Hurricane José expected this weekend, let’s hope that FaceBook get their act together!


Russell Williams

An IT Professional for more than 20 years and an entrepreneur for more than a decade, Russell Williams is the founder of, The IT Facility and has extensive experience as a Consultant, IT Trainer and facilitator and is happy to answer your questions. E-mail them to solutions@theitfacility.com or follow him on Twitter @RwilliamsKN, G+ google.com/+RussellWilliamsKN and on facebook.com/RussellWilliamsKN


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