Until Friday's attack in Paris, the Facebook 'Safety Check' feature was only available for natural disasters
Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has announced that, in the wake of Friday's attacks in Paris , Facebook's Safety Check feature will now cover human disasters.
Until now, the feature has only been rolled out for natural disasters and allows the social network's users in affected areas to let loved ones know they're safe.
Zuckerberg's announcement was made through a Facebook post in which he responded to questions on why it wasn't activated for last week's bombing in Beirut that killed 44 people .
"Until yesterday, our policy was only to activate Safety Check for natural disasters. We just changed this and now plan to activate Safety Check for more human disasters going forward as well," the billionaire wrote on the social network.
"Thank you to everyone who has reached out with questions and concerns about this. You are right that there are many other important conflicts in the world."
Facebook is one of the first places that people turn during a crisis to try and find out if their friends and family are affected.
To show solidarity with the horrific attacks in Paris, people were also given the option to change their profile picture to a French flag .
Since we activated Safety Check in Paris, we have heard positive feedback about how reassuring it is to receive notifications that a friend or loved one is safe," said Alex Schultz, Facebook's vice president of growth.
"I personally have received several from people I know and love and have felt first hand the impact of this tool," he explained in a post describing Facebook's decision to extend the use of Safety Check.
"We chose to activate Safety Check in Paris because we observed a lot of activity on Facebook as the events were unfolding. In the middle of a complex, uncertain situation affecting many people, Facebook became a place where people were sharing information and looking to understand the condition of their loved ones.
"We talked with our employees on the ground, who felt that there was still a need that we could fill. So we made the decision to try something we've never done before: activating Safety Check for something other than a natural disaster. There has to be a first time for trying something new, even in complex and sensitive times, and for us that was Paris."
"We want this tool to be available whenever and wherever it can help."