FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Facebook’s Safety Check feature was activated Friday afternoon in the wake a deadly mass shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport that left 5 people dead and 6 others wounded.
Facebook’s Safety Check feature first debuted during the Nepal earthquake in April 2015. “When disasters happen, people need to know their loved ones are safe,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote when the feature was activated. “It’s moments like this that being able to connect really matters.”
The features allows users to notify friends and loved ones that they were free from harm in areas of immediate danger.
It has been used for other mass shootings, natural disasters and terrorist attacks.
Facebook has activated the tool at least 40 times in the past two years, but it has also been criticized for failing to activate Safety Check in some parts of the world. In response, the social media giant no longer manually activates the tool, relying instead on its 1.2 billion daily visitors to help automatically launch the feature.
Authorities gave no details on a possible motive for Friday’s airport shooting, which sent panicked passengers running out of the terminal and onto the tarmac, baggage in hand, and forced the shutdown of the entire airport.
Chip LaMarca, a Broward County commissioner who was briefed on the attack by the sheriff’s office said the shooter had arrived aboard a flight with a gun in a checked bag.
It is legal for airline passengers to carry guns and ammunition as long as the firearms are put in a checked bag — not in a carry-on — and are unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container. Guns must be declared to the airline at check-in
The attack took place at Terminal 2, which serves Delta Air Lines and Air Canada.
The gunman was arrested unharmed, with no law enforcement officers firing any shots, and was being questioned by the FBI.