British Columbia

Facebook apologizes for mistaken Safety Check messages after Pakistan blast

Facebook has apologized after sending out Safety Check messages to people nowhere near the Pakistan bomb blast on Sunday.

Tech giant blames system 'bug' for sending out notifications to people nowhere near site of the attack

Facebook sent out notifications like this one to people completely unrelated to the attacks in Lahore, Pakistan. (Facebook)

Facebook has apologized after sending out Safety Check messages to people nowhere near the Pakistan bomb blast on Sunday.

The tech giant activated the tool following the explosion which asks users in the area of a disaster to share if they are safe.

It said a system "bug" was to blame for the mishap.

"Unfortunately, many people not affected by the crisis received a notification asking if they were okay," the company told CBC News in a statement.

"We worked to resolve the issue and we apologize to anyone who mistakenly received the notification."

Many people were left confused when they received the notifications and even text messages asking them whether they were "affected by the explosion."

It led some as far away as B.C. wondering if something dire had happened closer to home.

Facebook would not comment on how many of the messages were sent out but that it was "counter to the product's intent" and the problem had been resolved.

The company has previously been criticized for selectively activating the tool — choosing to use it following the attacks in Paris but not in Beirut.

Text messages sent from Facebook asking about an explosion confused some users on Sunday. (Lien Yeung/CBC)


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?