Facebook has said sorry to users after it inadvertently kicked-off a worldwide bomb scare after a bomb alert was issued to members the world over following a terrorist explosion in Pakistan.
The disaster response feature is intended to help those caught up in such incidents by inviting people to confirm that they are safe but instead of focussing on those close to the scene of the blast in Lahore the alert was sent to people from as far away as Hawaii, Hong Kong and the UK.
To compound the chaos some members were issued text alerts asking if recipients had been ‘affected by the explosion?’ without specifying the nature or location of the incident, stoking fear amongst confused recipients.
In a statement Facebook said: “We activated Safety Check today in Lahore, Pakistan, after an explosion that took place there. We hope the people in the area of the bombing find Safety Check a useful and helpful way to let their friends and family know they are okay.
“Unfortunately, many people not affected by the crisis received a notification asking if they were okay. This kind of bug is counter to our intent. We worked quickly to resolve the issue and we apologise to anyone who mistakenly received the notification.”
Further confusion was sown by errant notifications from the Facebook app, which struggled to accurately locate people in the vicinity, erroneously messaging people in Wales and even Honolulu.