New York, March 28 (IANS) The social networking giant Facebook apologised on Monday after a bug turned its “safety check” feature into a breaking news alert for all users after a powerful blast ripped through a public park in Lahore, killing 69 people and injuring over 250.
Facebook turns on the “Safety Check” feature to help let friends and family know they are safe in case being trapped after a natural disaster or terror attack.
But in the case of Lahore terror attack, people nowhere nearby, or even near Pakistan, received notifications, Quartz reported.
In fact, people as far as New York city, South Africa, Nepal and Canada tweeted about receiving the “Safety Check” notification activated after the Lahore bombing.
“We activated Safety Check in Lahore, Pakistan, after a bombing took place there. Unfortunately, many people not affected by the crisis received a notification asking if they were okay. We worked to resolve the issue and we apologise to anyone who mistakenly received the notification,” a Facebook spokesperson was quoted as saying.
According to a post from Facebook’s disaster response team, “this kind of bug is counter to the product’s intent.”
In January when a powerful earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter Scale rocked Manipur, Facebook activated its “Safety Check” tool to help people in the area let friends and family know they are safe.
Facebook had also activated the feature for its users in flood-hit Chennai to provide them with a way to reassure loved ones that they are safe.
The blast, apparently caused by a suicide bomber, occurred in a parking lot at Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, one of the largest parks in Lahore, the capital of Punjab province of Pakistan.
The splinter group Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a faction of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack and said it deliberately targeted Christians on Easter Sunday.
“We claim responsibility for the attack on Christians as they were celebrating Easter,” a spokesperson for the terrorist group was quoted by the Telegraph as saying.
“It was part of our annual martyrdom attacks we have started this year,” he said and warned that more attacks would follow.