#Asia Jakarta locals create hashtag after Facebook misses Safety Check


However there was some pushback, with some locals saying a trending topic could damage the country’s reputation

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With additional inputs from our Indonesia correspondent Anisa Menur

At least three blasts, followed by a multiple-hour-long gun battle, left seven people dead (including four attackers), spreading horror throughout Indonesia’s capital city of Jakarta today, according to the most recent reports by Associated Press.

During the attack and in the immediate hours afterwards, Facebook failed to implement its ‘Safety Check’ feature, which helps people connect with friends and loved ones during a disaster (Facebook was widely criticised in the recent past, as it has created an impression that the social media platform is very selective when it comes to Saftey Check and activates the feature only when the victims are Westerners).

Instead, a grassroots hashtag — #SafetyCheckJKT — sprouted up across various social media platforms for Indonesians to let family and friends know about their status.

For instance, a user used his Twitter account to let people know the areas of Gelong Baru and Tomang are safe.

Another user tweeted in English.

However, there was pushback on people using hashtags (and then #PrayForJakarta and #KamiTidakTakut cropped up) could create a negative backlash.

Specifically, netizens are concerned about the damages that a “viral incident” could do to the country’s reputation. In a social media post making the rounds (seen below), an Indonesian pointed out that if the Jakarta attack becomes a trending topic it could hurt the country’s reputation as a safe place for foreign direct investment or further damage economic trends like the exchange rate.

(To be clear, it seems unlikely that ‘Einhazen’ is the original creator of the post below).


But the ship has sailed for that opinion, as three of the top four trending topics worldwide, till the time of publishing this post, were related to the Jakarta attack.

For Facebook, the incident is another peg in the debate about Facebook’s Safety Check system. There seems to be no rhyme or reason, as to what justifies its selective approach to implementation and some have wondered if regional, cultural and racial bias is to blame.

The company was widely criticised globally when it activated Safety Check during the Paris terrorist attacks that left 129 people dead, but failed to do so during a bombing in Beirut, which killed 43 people the day before.

Closer to home, in India, the firm activated the system following an earthquake that rocked the northeast region of Manipur on January 4 this year, killing eight people.

But another tragedy, of much bigger scale in the same country — the floods in Chennai that left hundreds of people dead in December 2015 — failed to elicit an activation.

e27 has reached out to Facebook for comment about the Jakarta attacks and will update accordingly.

Other tech companies did get involved in helping after the attacks. GrabTaxi and GoJek both offered free rides to people in Jakarta.

An email send by GoJek CEO Nadiem Makarim said the company would offer free rides to users to help ease the evacuation process.

The post Jakarta locals create hashtag after Facebook misses Safety Check appeared first on e27.

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