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Facebook Activates Safety Check in Las Vegas

Police form a perimeter around the road leading to the Mandalay Hotel (background) after a gunman killed at least 50 people and wounded more than 400 others when he opened fire on a country music concert in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 2, 2017. Photo by Mark Ralston—AFP/Getty Images

Facebook activated its Safety Check feature in the wake of Sunday night’s mass shooting in Las Vegas that left at least 50 people dead and more than 400 wounded after the alleged gunman, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, fired shots into a crowd at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip.

Following the shooting, Facebook turned on the Safety Check feature to allow users in the area to mark themselves as safe after the incident, while users elsewhere can use the feature to search for friends and family who might be near Las Vegas to check on their status.

The social networking giant labeled the page housing information about the Las Vegas mass shooting as “The Violent Incident in Las Vegas, Nevada.” Last month, Facebook said it would house its Safety Check feature in a new Crisis Response hub, where users following an incident like the Las Vegas shooting can also find a community help platform, where people can either ask for assistance or help coordinate relief efforts. The Crisis Response center also includes the relief fundraising function the company added over the summer.

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(At one point this morning, Facebook’s Crisis Response hub was promoting an article from a Blogspot page titled “Alt-Right News” as one of its top stories. Fast Company noted that the article in question was one of many online on Monday that contained misleading information about a woman who was briefly considered a suspect in connection with the shootings.)

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Facebook introduced Safety Check in 2014, and the service only activates the feature when major natural disasters or deadly attacks occur anywhere around the world. Facebook first used Safety Check in the U.S. last year after a gunman murdered 49 people at a nightclub in Orlando, Fla., in what was the largest mass shooting in the country’s modern history before Sunday’s shooting in Nevada.

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