Ever since Facebook launched its Crisis Response tool, people have been able to use it in around 300 crises in more than 80 countries. It has been helpful in letting loved ones know about their safety as well as in asking for help from the ground directly. Now it gets even more useful features in the latest update, including the ability to share first-hand information, better “Data for Good” tools, improvements in disaster maps, and even a WhatsApp integration.
According to an article on Tech Crunch, people who are there directly affected by the disaster or crisis will now be able to share first-hand information about the situation on-ground, like road closures, building collapses, etc. This is especially important if the public cannot get such information from news outlets’ reports, which sometimes focuses more on the bigger picture rather than smaller details like that. Affected users have previously been able to share requests and offers for help.
The “Data for Good” tools are now even more useful for those who are bringing relief to affected areas. Facebook has expanded its partnership to over 100 organizations and provides them with disaster maps and information about where to distribute supplies. They are using aggregated and anonymized data to determine this information. This should make it easier to provide on-ground relief to affected areas.
These disaster maps have also been improved as they work with experts on things like displacement, commute patterns, tourist populations, etc. You can also now integrate Crisis Response with WhatsApp but it’s a pretty simple one. You can offer or request for help through the messaging app, aside from the option of using Facebook Messenger. These new features have enabled Facebook to also deliver information to state and local officials through partnerships with Direct Relief and the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS (NAPSG) Foundation
These new features are now rolling out in the Crisis Response section in your Facebook. If you’ve never used this centralized hub before, you can also see tools like Safety Check, Community Help, and Fundraisers under this section.