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Facebook Safety Check Activated After Someone Set Off Large Firecrackers In Bangkok

At first, many thought the alert was triggered after reports of a 2015 bombing resurfaced. Instead it was because a man set off large firecrackers at a government building.

Originally posted on
Updated on

A protester set off several large firecrackers at a government building in Bangkok on Tuesday night, local media reported, causing Facebook's Safety Check feature to be activated — some say prematurely.

Weirdly @facebook has issued a safety check for Bangkok but there are NO reports of explosions at the moment that I… https://t.co/OhbsUThlA2

The social network's feature didn't provide additional information, only indicating an explosion had occurred.

Several local news outlets reported that the safety check was triggered after some media outlets began reporting on an explosion. The news, though, linked to a 2015 story about the Erawan Shrine bombing. And many people on Twitter said there wan't an explosion at all and that the alert was incorrect

No need to panic, there was NO explosion in #Bangkok despite a Facebook safety Check being triggered. No need to ma… https://t.co/UfKQBwpU2x

Hey @Facebook, why don't u verify if the disaster is real before you freak everyone out? There's NOT an #Explosion… https://t.co/j68F8U0HZ1

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#Bangkok tweeps - what's happening? Are you all safe? Seeing online chatter about an explosion, but nothing in the news so far.

.@Facebook has finally noticed the false alarm and has deactivated the Safety Check for #Bangkok..

But, it turns out, a man did get to the rooftop of the Government Savings Bank, the Bangkok Post reported, throwing five "large firecrackers" in protest of a land issue between him and authorities.

The Independent reported that the feature was turned on after people started posting a local story on Facebook about the incident, and that the check-in is a result of Facebook's new algorithm.

Last month, Facebook announced that it changed its algorithm to notice trending posts in local communities, allowing users to activate the Security Check when something is happening.

“Safety Check was activated today in Thailand following an explosion. As with all Safety Check activations, Facebook relies on a trusted third party to first confirm the incident and then on the community to use the tool and share with friends and family,” a Facebook spokesperson said.

The changes are supposed to make the program useable for more people.

Facebook removed the Bangkok safety check about an hour after it went live, according to multiple users on Twitter.

Correction: Facebook's Safety Check feature was activated after reports of large firecrackers being set off at a government building. The headline of an earlier version of this post indicated there was no explosion and that people were sharing a story of a 2015 incident.

Mary Ann Georgantopoulos is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Mary Ann Georgantopoulos at maryann.georgantopoulos@buzzfeed.com.

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