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People In Nepal Are Letting Their Loved Ones Know They Are Safe Using Facebook

Facebook introduced its "Safety Check" feature last October.

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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.

My friend is Marked Safe in Nepal Earthquake. Thanks facebook!

Their friends began letting their loved ones know they were safe through a new Facebook feature called "Safety Check."

Love the facebook feature allowing people in Nepal to update status as safe. Glad to see my friend Sienna is safe!

Friends as far away as California got comfort through the feature on their timeline.

Relieved to see my trek guide in Nepal marked as safe on @facebook, amazing feature cc: @BJCronin

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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.

Fascinating and great: Facebook can mark friends as "safe" after catastrophes like the Nepal earthquake

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.

.@facebook just launched #Nepal #earthquake safety check tool. Please mark yourself safe, spread and help others!

BuzzFeed News has reached out to Facebook for comment.

Stephanie McNeal is a social news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Stephanie McNeal at stephanie.mcneal@buzzfeed.com.

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