Facebook has activated its Safety Check feature, which is designed for people to be able to quickly let friends and family know they are safe in the event of a natural disaster or terrorist attacks, in Ecuador following a significant earthquake.
According to the Safety Check, the quake struck near near Esmeraldas, Ecuador with a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale. Tremors also struck neighboring Colombia. BBC News report that the number of injured stands at more than 500 and at least 77 people lost their lives.
Facebook has come under criticism in the past for when and where it chooses to deploy the Safety Check system. In general, it’s only used when it can provide short-term value by letting people communicate that they are safe – longer, ongoing crises or political situations wouldn’t see much value from the tool being deployed, the company says.
When it first launched, Safety Check was only used for natural disasters, but has since been deployed in the wake of terrorist attacks on more than one occasion.