On Saturday, the Asian nation of Nepal was devastated by a powerful earthquake. But just hours after the tragedy, friends and family of people in the country began getting a comforting update.
Their friends began letting their loved ones know they were safe through a new Facebook feature called "Safety Check."
Friends as far away as California got comfort through the feature on their timeline.
Facebook announced the "Safety Check" feature last October, but this appears to be the first time it's been utilized on such a grand scale.
In a press release, Facebook said its engineers in Japan began working on the project after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in the country.
The team wanted to give its users a fast and easy way to let as many people as possible know they were safe after a major disaster.
"The team set out to create a simple and easy-to-use tool that allows people to connect with their network of friends and family when it matters most," Facebook said.
The tool immediately activates for users who have the area in question listed on their profile, recently used the internet in the area, and/or the area is the last location the user marked using the "Nearby Friends" feature.
Facebook then sends a notification to users that it thinks are in the area, asking if they are safe.
If they are, users can mark "yes." This sends the notification that they are safe to all of their Facebook friends.
Friends can also mark their Facebook friends as safe if the user is unable to do it themselves.
Stephanie McNeal is a social news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Stephanie McNeal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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