Join us at TNW Conference 2022 for insights into the future of tech →

The heart of tech

This article was published on May 1, 2016

Facebook ignores calls for Safety Check in Syria as #AleppoIsBurning

Facebook ignores calls for Safety Check in Syria as #AleppoIsBurning
Kirsty Styles
Story by

Kirsty Styles

Reporter

Kirsty Styles is a journalist who lives in Hackney. She was previously editor at Tech City News and is now a reporter at The Next Web. She l Kirsty Styles is a journalist who lives in Hackney. She was previously editor at Tech City News and is now a reporter at The Next Web. She loves tech for good, cleantech, edtech, assistive tech, politech (?), diversity in tech.

Someone sent me a message a couple of days ago saying they’d just watched the news and it had made them really angry.

I asked him what had happened and he said it was news from the ongoing war in Syria.

“I literally have no idea what we should be doing about it,” he said. Me neither, I thought.

We’ve never been able to see more up close images of war and yet it feels like we’re truly paralyzed.

Now #AleppoIsBurning is gathering pace on Twitter with people in the Middle East and beyond trying to #MakeFacebookRed, or even planning to boycott the platform, to draw attention to Syrian government air strikes in the country’s largest city Aleppo.

https://twitter.com/_Leenaaaa/status/726417223456268289

Calls are being made for Facebook’s Safety Check to be enabled just as it was in Paris, or for the Syrian flag to be made into a filter so people can show their solidarity wherever they are.

But in November last year Facebook outlined its stance on a situation like Syria: “During an ongoing crisis, like war or epidemic, Safety Check in its current form is not that useful for people: because there isn’t a clear start or end point and, unfortunately, it’s impossible to know when someone is truly ‘safe.'”

Social media cannot solve a crisis like the six-year war in Syria that has killed some 400,000 people and displaced millions more. But our silence certainly won’t stop it either.

We’ve got in touch with Facebook, which has the single largest engaged audience on the planet, to find out if they have any plans to open up new features in support of the Syrian people.