Facebook has announced that it will now provide more ways for people to communicate during times of disaster or attack.

Facebook, the world's largest social media network, has a “Crisis Response” feature that allows users to stay informed about what's happening during a time of crisis, such as during disaster or in the event of an attack, and also allows users to communicate with each other.

Crisis Response also allows disaster or tragedy victims to ask for help from people who are nearby or those who are monitoring the events. It also allows users to offer their help to those in need. It also helps people know if their family and friends are safe, when they see them marking themselves as “safe” through the feature.

The feature allows users to communicate with each other, but only through Facebook's Messenger app. Now, the social media company has announced that users will be able to communicate with each other, request or offer help, and share crucial real-time information via WhatsApp.

“We heard loud and clear from people that what they really needed was more information during times of crisis,” Emily Dalton Smith, director of social impact product at Facebook, told CNet. “What they wanted was to be able to know everything that was relevant so that they can navigate through this tough time.”

TechCrunch noted that while users of Facebook's Crisis Response will now be able to communicate via WhatsApp, the integration between the two apps is still light at the moment, which means WhatsApp won't get all the features Crisis Response on Messenger has, at least at the moment.

Still, it's a welcome improvement – one that just might help people get the help they need at the moment they need it. WhatsApp users who are affected by the tragic events can now ask for help from people, and can now expect to receive messages from responders as well.

Facebook also updated the “Data for Good” tools to provide more accurate information that responders will need. Disaster maps have been corrected to display accurate details such as tourist populations and commute patterns.

Facebook says it will step up monitoring of the platform's use in Taiwan ahead of elections due there in January Facebook has updated its Crisis Response feature to work with WhatsApp. Photo: AFP / SAM YEH