Jill Layton
November 14, 2015 9:28 am

As more and more heartbreaking and horrifyingly details emerge from yesterday’s attacks in Paris, getting involved may feel a little more accessible than it has during the aftermath of past disasters — and for that we have technology to thank. The Internet has provided a safe place for everyone to rally together and provide support. Social media is using its collective power to make an important positive difference, and in these dark times, we’re grateful for that light.

Here’s a breakdown of the helpful ways technology is making a difference and how you can get involved:

If you have Facebook friends who are currently in Paris, you may have noticed that the “safety check,” which Facebook implemented in 2014, has been customized to let users know if their friends and loved ones are safe in Paris. As of what we know now, more than 140 people have been killed in the attacks in Paris, while many others are still being held hostage. With the attacks affecting so many people, the safety check not only gives friends and family the peace of mind to know their loved ones are safe, but it also gives users in Paris the opportunity to easily communicate with everyone they know — just by the simple click of a button.

All users have the option to mark themselves (or others) safe:

Facebook then sends out a notification and a news feed story with the update:

Facebook is just one of the many technology companies reaching out to its users after the attacks. Uber used its app to warn its users to “not move unless absolutely necessary.” AirBnB sent out a tweet informing users of which Twitter accounts to follow for instructions on where to go.

Twitter users in Paris have created the hashtag #porteouverte, which translates to “open door”. People all over Paris and Europe are using the hashtag to offer a safe place to stay for those affected by the attacks. And Twitter users all over the world are showing their support and love for Paris, using the hashtags #PrayForParis and #Prayers4Paris. If you’re active on social media, you’ve probably noticed the Eiffel Tower peace sign photo people are posting. The image has served as a moving way for people all over the world to show their support.

In the wake of all tragedies, it’s always reassuring when humanity rallies together. Senseless acts of terror affect all of us, and we will always have each other’s backs. To quote Mr. Rogers, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

(Featured image via Instagram)

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