According to reports by Associated Press, a van veered onto a promenade and barreled down the busy walkway in central Barcelona on Thursday, swerving back and forth as it mowed down pedestrians and turned a picturesque tourist destination into a bloody killing zone leaving fourteen (14) people killed and over 100 were injured.
Soon after the attack, Menlo Park-based social networking firm, Facebook Inc. and Mountain View-based internet firm, Google Corp. activated their safety check features to let users in the vicinity inform their friends that they were safe and get nearby support.
Telegraph reported on Thursday that the social media firm created a page, titled “The attack in Barcelona, Spain” which users used to check in as safe.
Google’s SOS alert feature gave people up-to-date news and information about the Barcelona attack, also including helpful phrases for those who might be affected.
Notably, the Facebook Safety Check introduced in 2011 and used for only natural disasters was later widely used in terror attacks after the 2015 Paris attack.
When the Safety Check is activated in the affected area, users who Facebook determines to live or spend a lot of time in these areas are sent a push notification asking if they want to check in as safe. Then sends a notification to friends of those who check in – confirming they have been marked as safe.
The feature also opens up ways for the people to offer help for those who are in need of help like food, shelter, medicines, or clothings.
Editor’s Note: Written with some inputs from Associated Press and NDTV news