Facebook apologized Sunday for sending a notification to people around the world that suggested they were near Lahore, Pakistan, and possibly affected by a deadly bombing in a park there.
Sunday marked the eighth time this year that Facebook has activated Safety Check, a feature launched in late 2014 that invites people near a disaster or attack site to quickly notify Facebook friends that they are safe. Last year, it was deployed after the Nepal earthquake, Paris terrorist attacks and more. Altogether, about 950 million Facebook users received notifications last year that a friend on the social media app was safe following some major event. Facebook has about 1.6 billion monthly users.
But for the first time Sunday, something went very wrong with Safety Check. Facebook employees were still combing through data and code to figure out why its software placed so many people near Lahore, where at least 65 people were killed and over 300 injured Sunday in an apparent suicide bombing at a park crowded with families celebrating Easter.
Reports emerged that people far from Lahore, including in Los Angeles, San Francisco, London and Johannesburg, saw an alert when they opened Facebook Sunday asking if they were OK.
"We apologize to anyone who mistakenly received a notification outside of Pakistan and are working to resolve the issue," Facebook said.