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Facebook (FB) Adds Crisis Response Feature for Emergencies


Facebook Inc. FB announced a new feature called Crisis Response that will have all its crisis response tools namely, Safety Check, Community Help and Fundraisers at one place. The tab will enable users to view content on crisis posted by the Facebook community worldwide. The tool will be accessible in the upcoming weeks on the menu section of its app and on the homepage of its desktop version.

Such attempts from Facebook indicate its new mission, which is to “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together."

We believe these initiatives will significantly drive Facebook’s user base and sustain the share price momentum. Notably, Facebook has gained 48.6% year to date, substantially outperforming the industry’s 20.3% rally.

Facebook’s Attempts in Disaster Response

The social media giant introduced the Safety Check tool in 2014 in a bid to help people at the time of emergencies. The tool enables users to inform others by marking themselves safe when something untoward happens. It was first used during the Nepal Earthquake in April 2015 and since then the feature has been activated during other natural as well as man-made disasters.

In February 2017, Facebook announced its Community Help feature, an update to Safety Check, which enables disaster-affected people to find and provide assistance in the form of food, shelter and conveyance.

Recently, the company also added a tool to its Safety Check feature, whereby users are able to raise/donate funds for victims of “natural disasters and violent attacks.” Reportedly, it has been instrumental in raising more than $10 million of funds for Hurricane Harvey victims. Fundraisers in Safety Check were initially available only in the United States but Facebook recently announced that the feature has been rolled out to European countries as well.

Moreover, Facebook doesn’t merely rely on news but rather gathers detailed information regarding such untoward incidents from global crisis reporting agencies NC4 and iJET International.

Dependence on Social Media

Facebook is considered to have pioneered the concept of social networking, which is why it enjoys a first mover’s advantage in this market. The company’s user base continues to grow at a significant pace driven by new features and tools that improve engagement.

Facebook stands to benefit from the growing importance of social media as the primary mode of communication during times of crisis. However, the company has also faced criticism for not activating Safety Checks in certain situations like that of Côte d’Ivoire attack. The company was also criticized last December for activating the service in fear of a bomb explosion in Bangkok while it was later found out to be a false alarm.

People are resorting to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter TWTR in a bid to gain quicker assistance compared with traditional services like 911. Snap SNAP Maps gained popularity when Harvey and Irma wreaked havoc. Users were able to understand the current weather conditions by viewing related posts made by others. Search giant Alphabet’s GOOGL Google Maps showed closed roads in Florida, which aided evacuation.

Zacks Rank

Currently, Facebook has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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