Facebook is expanding its Safety Check feature with an update dubbed Community Help, which is meant to enable and encourage people to help those who are affected by emergencies. That can mean offering aid in the form of food, transportation, or shelter.
When users mark themselves safe, Facebook will direct them to the Safety Check page dedicated to the emergency, where they can ask for help or search for existing posts offering aid. The obvious question is: How will Facebook ensure that people using this service are trustworthy? For now, Facebook claims it will bar new accounts, or those it deems “suspicious,” from accessing the Community Help section, according to TechCrunch. Facebook has also provided safety guidelines for users of the service—but those kind of precautions may not be very effective when people are in need during an emergency. As Steven Melendez reported last year, amid various missteps with the feature last year, the company has been tweaking Safety Check and learning how to play a growing role in humanitarian efforts.