2014-10-16

Facebook takes a Page Out of a Lebanese Developer's Book

image source: http://newsroom.fb.com/news/2014/10/introducing-safety-check/

This morning Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg posted an update announcing "Safety Check", a new service that would allow people in times of natural disasters to inform their friends that they are safe or whether they need help.





This is a big move by Facebook in terms of serving the public and a much welcome initiative.
In Lebanon, we have been spared the natural disaster scenarios for some time. Aside from the occasional highway flooding, and road blocked by snow, we have had a smooth ride for the past few decades in that area. Instead we prefer man-made disasters, and for those of you who have not heard of the on-and-off streaks of bomb attacks on various suburbs in the past  few...er...decades, that's something that we've adapted to over and over and again.

In recent years with the surge of yet another wave of bombs a young lady by the name of Sandra Hassan coded and published an Android app that with a click of a button would allow anyone to publish a quick message saying "I am Alive" on Facebook and Twitter. I recently had the opportunity of  highlighting the importance of such an app while speaking at an EU sponsored workshop in Cyprus for Civil Protection.

I am not sure we'll ever know if Facebook got inspired by this app, given the good number of Lebanese talents on board, or whether this is something that has been in the pipeline for some time but the similarity was worth highlighting.

So there you go,  my contribution to stroking the proverbial Lebanese ego and one more opportunity at gloating the usual "we did it first" and "do you see what Lebanese can do?".
Now you can bask in the sunshine of your self-satisfaction and wait for next earthquake to test out the new service or just read about it here: http://newsroom.fb.com/news/2014/10/introducing-safety-check/