Social media pitches in for Nepal quake aftermath - The Hindu

In the aftermath of the 7.9 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday, several social media networks and mobile applications have come up with 'safety features' that could possibly help one locate friends and loved ones.

Facebook's Safety Check invites users to "mark themselves safe" if they are in the earthquake affected areas. Users can also check whether their friends are currently in the affected areas and if they have marked themselves safe.

"This morning we activated Safety Check for people affected by the earthquake in Nepal. When disasters happen, people need to know their loved ones are safe. It's moments like this that being able to connect really matters," said Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg in a post.

The idea to launch such an app came after the 2011 Tsunami in Japan, which had caused massive devastation in the country as millions of people had little clue about the whereabouts of their kin for weeks.

Google too has activated their Person Finder tool that was launched in the aftermath of the 2011 Haiti earthquake.

It is an open source API that lets people create a 'record' of themselves.

They can also track the whereabouts of their friends and family and subscribe to updates about people's locations. The tool also lets you embed it on your website to enable people to search or track people's locations.

The platform incorporates the major people search services that sprang up in the U.S. media in the days following the devastating quake.

Rescue efforts are also being co-ordinated over social media sites, with people relying on them to share information about missing persons and important phone numbers.

Meanwhile, voice calling application Viber has announced that they would be switching off Out Billing for Nepal users.

- With inputs from PTI

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