Because who has time for geography?
After the terrorist bombing in Lahore, Pakistan, which killed 72 and injured over 300, Facebook sent push notifications to people in the area, asking if they’re okay and if they’d like to notify friends and family of their safety. Facebook’s heart was in the right place, but their push notifications weren’t.
Dude, where’s Pakistan?
Facebook thinks I am in Pakistan and wants to know if I'm safe.
(I am safe, but I'm in Brooklyn.) pic.twitter.com/6h5QgyZ4Vs
— Jeremy B. Merrill (@jeremybmerrill) March 27, 2016
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Sure, Facebook notified people in Pakistan… and England, and New York, and a bunch of other places that are nowhere near Pakistan. Running a multi-billion dollar company takes brain power galore, but what it doesn’t take is a basic understanding of geography.
Click to tweet: Ouch – @Facebook ‘s heart was in the right place, but their push notifications weren’t.
— Sioned Treharne (@SionedTreharne) March 27, 2016
How it’s supposed to work
In the event of a true natural disaster, or a man-made act of lunacy, Facebook will send notifications to those in the vicinity of the effected area.
To let friends and family know you’re safe, just select one of two canned replies, “I’m safe” or “I’m not in the area,” and your selection will be posted to your wall. Sounds simple enough, so why did Facebook get it so wrong?
We all make mistakes, but…
It’s fun to rip ’em a new one when it’s a billion dollar conglomerate making the blunder. Facebook’s Safety Check feature has been running a couple years now, so it’s not like they haven’t had plenty of time to iron out the bugs.
Click to tweet: Running a multi-billion dollar company takes brain power galore, but what it doesn’t take is a basic understanding of geography.
Facebook is “working to resolve the issue.” Translation: they bought a globe and are studying it really, really hard.
What’s Next: Push notifications to prevent terrorism
Facebook enacts push notifications for terrorists: “Are you about to do something really stupid? Click here to call your mom so she can talk you out of it. Or click here to call the police and turn yourself in.” If only.
Click to tweet: Facebook is working to resolve the issue. Translation: they bought a globe and are studying it really, really hard.
What’s your take?
Is Facebook’s blunder a big deal? Would this have happened if the attack took place in a Western country? How can we improve safety notifications during an emergency? Post your thoughts in the comments below.
featured photo: (c) cnn.com
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