Facebook's Safety Check feature triggered a false bomb alert in the Thai capital Bangkok.
(CCM) — Facebook sparked fear and anger by mistakenly activating its Safety Check feature following a supposed bomb attack in Thailand. The check-in feature allows users to signal to friends and family that they are safe after a tragic event, normally being activated after terror attacks, bomb blasts, or natural disasters. But in Bangkok, Facebook created an alert called "The explosion in Bangkok, Thailand," which was reportedly confirmed by "multiple sources" but later turned out to be a false alarm caused by a protestor releasing fireworks.
The alert page had only one supporting link, which redirected people to news articles about an August 2015 bombing in Bangkok that killed 20 people. Following the false alarm, many locals marked themselves "safe." However, the alert was deactivated about an hour after being posted. The entire episode left locals and their loved ones frustrated and angry, with many blaming Facebook for attempting to "spoil the image" of the country right before the New Year. The social media giant defended the incident by saying that the alert was activated after reports of small explosions near Government House early Tuesday that claimed that a protester had "hurled explosives". Facebook has previously received flack for having activated the Safety Check feature after the November 2015 Paris attack, but not after the one in Beirut that happened just one day before.
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