Israeli technology reassures panicked French citizens

Israeli technology did its bit to help reassure panicked French citizens that their loved ones were safe in the wake of the Paris terror attacks

“During the 24 hours after the terror attack, 4.1 million people checked in with friends and relatives using Facebook Safety Check, a technology developed by Facebook Israel’s research and development department,” said a spokesperson for Facebook Israel. “A total of 360 million people received messages that their loved ones were safe.”

Safety Check is a feature that Facebook has activated a number of times in the past, usually for natural disasters. The Paris terrorist attacks are the first time it has been used to enable people to “check in” and let others know they were safe in a terrorism situation.

Remind me again of all the wonderful inventions to help society that were created in Palestine?

Oh yeah, that’s right. One invention and one invention only, the Qassam rocket.

The Qassam rocket gained notoriety as the best-known type of rocket deployed by Palestinian militants, mainly against Israeli civilians…According to Human Rights Watch, Qassam rockets are too inaccurate and prone to malfunction to be used against specific military targets in or near civilian areas, and are mainly launched for the purpose of “harming civilians.”[12] Basil Collier has compared the Qassam rockets to the V-weapons of Nazi Germany, which were used for terror bombing civilian populations during World War II.[13][14]

-wiki

Eight Qassam launchers, seven equipped with operating systems and one armed and ready to launch, were uncovered during a counter-terrorism operation in northern Gaza. Had it been launched, this Qassam would have targeted Israel's civilian population.

Eight Qassam launchers, seven equipped with operating systems and one armed and ready to launch, were uncovered during a counter-terrorism operation in northern Gaza. Had it been launched, this Qassam would have targeted Israel’s civilian population.

…Safety Check is a feature that Facebook has activated several times in the past, usually for natural disasters. The Paris attacks were the first time it was used to enable people to “check in” and let others know they were safe in a terror attack scenario. Facebook made that announcement in response to widespread criticism in the blogosphere about how the service had not been used in previous terror incidents in places like Baghdad, Beirut, and Kabul.

According to Alex Schultz, Facebook’s vice president of Growth, “We chose to activate Safety Check in Paris because we observed a lot of activity on Facebook as the events were unfolding. In the middle of a complex, uncertain situation affecting many people, Facebook became a place where people were sharing information and looking to understand the condition of their loved ones… This activation will change our policy around Safety Check and when we activate it for other serious and tragic incidents in the future. We want this tool to be available whenever and wherever it can help.”

For Facebook Israel’s top staff, Adi Sofer-Te’eni and Ro’i Tiger – the heads of Israeli market affairs and of research and development, respectively – Safety Check is part of the company’s commitment to using the Internet for good.

“It’s a concept that Mark (Facebook CEO Zuckerberg) has talked about. For us, it’s a great thing to be able to get up in the morning and not only do a challenging job, but one we know is helping people around the world,” said Tiger. “Facebook has become like a public square, used by over a billion people, so being able to leverage the platform to enable people to receive reassurance that their loved ones are safe is something we are very proud to be a part of.”

At a recent press conference in Facebook’s Tel Aviv R&D center, Sofer-Te’eni and Tiger discussed Safety Check and other projects the Israeli R&D center had worked on. An early version of Safety Check was used in Japan in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. An enhanced version was then developed in Israel, and the app was officially released in its current form in October 2014. Since then it has been activated in several natural disasters, including the May 2015 earthquakes in Nepal, and an earthquake in Afghanistan in October.

“It’s a positive project that makes us proud to come to work each day,” said Tiger. “For us, the idea of taking technology and giving it a moral aspect is important.”

Among the “doing good” projects Facebook Israel is concentrating on is Facebook’s Internet.org project, which provides access to basic Internet services for free in the developing world.

-timesofisrael.com


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