Facebook, Twitter and Google+ have all added or turned on features in the wake of the Paris attacks this past Friday, November 13. These features incorporate many of the behavioral uses of these platforms into their code. For example, Facebook turned on its “Safety Check” feature, where people can mark on their profile that they are ok instead of just posting something to your wall. The new app creates a featured post for your profile that says you are safe in the midst of a crisis or disaster. Like more common features on other social networks (e.g. @mentions, hashtags and the Quote Tweet functions on Twitter), these built in features are inspired by the ways people were using the platforms already.

These new features typically make using the social networks easier for users and often help campaign organizers, too, but not always. And the new tools are not always received in the most positive light. For example, the Facebook Safety Check feature was not turned on for all recent crisis events, prompting criticisms by activists that Facebook was showing a bias turning it on for Paris, but not for attacks happening in other parts of the world.

Read the rest of Alan’s piece at Social Media Today.


Alan Rosenblatt, Ph.D. is Sr. VP of Digital Strategy at turner4D and a 20+ year veteran of digital politics.  He writes every other Tuesday for Social Media Today, where this post originally appeared.