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How to Know If Your Facebook Friends in Paris Are Safe

2 minute read
Updated: | Originally published: ;

Facebook launched a feature so that people in Paris can let their network know they are alive on Friday after at least 128 were feared killed following multiple terror attacks across the French capital and a hostage crisis at a rock concert in the Bataclan theater that prompted President François Hollande to shut down the country’s borders and declare a state of emergency.

The social network’s “Safety Check” tool here asks users if they are in the affected area and enables them to “mark” themselves as “safe.” Then their Facebook friends will receive a notification. A “mark safe” button lets users mark others as safe, too. There is a comments section in each update, mostly filled with exclamations of relief.

This “Safety Check” was put in place earlier this year after the deadly earthquake in Nepal in April.

After Parisian police ordered residents to shelter in place and invite others inside their homes, the Twitter hashtag #PorteOuverte started trending so people could connect and find refuge.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs says U.S. citizens in Paris should check-in with their families instead of with the Embassy, so that vital emergency numbers aren’t tied up.

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Write to Olivia B. Waxman at olivia.waxman@time.com