Facebook has activated its Safety Check tool for those affected by the floods in Chennai. The feature allows people mark themselves or their friends ‘safe’, and provides a way to reassure family and friends. Thousands of people are left stranded after incessant rains lashed the city and the surrounding areas, in light of which the army has also been called in to help with relief efforts. It was also announced that the Chennai International Airport will be shut till December 6.
Facebook is not the only company to do its part to help out the people in Chennai in time of need. Telecom companies like BSNL will not charge its users for a week in Tamil Nadu, while Airtel, Reliance Communications and Vodafone aer providing free talktime and data for heir subscribers. Other services like Paytm are offering a Rs. 30 recharge for free for any mobile, and Zomato has started ‘Meal for Flood Relief’, where users can buy a meal for someone in Chennai, and the company will add another meal to it. Ola has tweeted that it is working with the fire department to help those who are stranded due to rains.
Last month, Facebook Safety Check was activated twice - once after the Paris Terror Attack, and the other during the aftermath of the bombing in Nigeria. The activation of the feature during the Paris attacks was criticised by some people as they felt it should also have been implemented during the double suicide bombings in Beirut, earlier. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, defended the company’s decision stating a change in policy. In a post on Facebook, he explained that the Safety Check tool was only implemented during natural disasters. However, the policy was now changed to include more human disasters. He added, “You are right that there are many other important conflicts in the world. We care about all people equally, and we will work hard to help people suffering in as many of these situations as we can.”