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A new Facebook feature being tested in Japan can help reassure contacts of a person's safety.
Facebook has just finished testing its new 'Disaster Message Board' service in Japan.
Contact can be difficult if you are present when a disaster strikes. Landlines may not be operational, and letting your family or friends know you are out of harm's way can be near impossible through cell phone networks.
That is why Facebook's new feature is an excellent idea. If you cannot rely on mobile networks, then Internet access may be a means in which to inform both your loves ones, or other contacts, of safety.
After last year's earthquake, Japan is the first country to test the new feature on a two-day test run. The message board allows users to get back in contact with their loved ones after an event such as an earthquake or other natural disaster. It works by sending a reminder in your news feed to mark yourself as 'SAFE' in such an event. If your friends have no access to the Internet, you can also mark them with the same status.
Not only this, but users have the option to add details about where you are heading to, and how you can be reached (if possible).
If you're looking for information concerning a friend or loved one, the Disaster Message Board can be searched via city, and can also engage with other Facebook users in the quest for information.
In a world where ex-pat communities are widespread across so many countries, a more reliable and beautifully simple means to ensure your family knows you are safe is paramount. Internet access is often a more stable and available means of communication, especially when emergencies such as earthquakes damage or send mobile networks out of service for long periods of time.
What do those in Japan think of the scheme? ZDNet's Hana Stewart-Smith investigates.
Image credit: ZDNet
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Mar 4, 2012
Great idea, but would need a validity timeout period, i.e. just because you're 'Safe' after the first quake, doesn't mean you or your loved one will be after the second, or any further environmental changes - however it's a fantastic concept!
Sounds great, but it will only as good as long as the system you communicate through is usable. I think if you cannot get a text message out via cell phone you will probably have little luck with this. If there is a widespread emergency your internet system will probably be open only to EMS and other services as they would have priority as they have backup power sources and would fall back to any communications system available for their use.
Having been through Hurricane Katrina - and you'd be surprised that over 3 hours in any direction from where the Eye Hit Landfall - it was like a nuclear bomb went off - 100 year old trees or more were downed for MILES and MILES which meant that there was ZERO POWER for sometimes WEEKS - (with no power comes no Internet, no computers, No Cell Reception, and so much more...the LO TECH Devices that WERE working were a bunch of Old School Ham Radio Operators (WN50WW) - who can hand crank a generator or run a Ham Radio on a small generator - we could get the message out across the US and other countries - using simple Morse code! If an EMP or other force hits - then all electronics will be down - but the Tube Operated Ham Radio will be the ONE device to communicate - takes a little work to learn - but is the simplest answer!