French seek friends, shel­ter on so­cial me­dia af­ter at­tacks

Kuwait Times - - TECHNOLOGY -

PARIS: French peo­ple took to so­cial me­dia to find friends and rel­a­tives, search for shel­ter and tell the world they were safe yes­ter­day, af­ter a wave of at­tacks across Paris left more than 120 peo­ple dead. In­ter­net users posted poignant ap­peals on Twit­ter to find their loved ones who had been at the scenes of the blood­shed, in­clud­ing at the Stade de France sta­dium and a rock gig at the Bat­a­clan the­atre. “If any­one has news of Lola, aged 17, at #Bat­a­clan this evening, con­tact us,” read one post, while an­other ex­pressed con­cern for a friend Thibault, who was also at the con­cert. “He’s not get­ting back to me: Help me”, it read.

Other Twit­ter feeds re­mained omi­nously silent af­ter an­nounc­ing the start of the con­cert at the Bat­a­clan con­cert hall, where at least 82 peo­ple were later killed by gun­men wield­ing AK47s. Eight at­tack­ers struck nu­mer­ous lo­ca­tions around the cap­i­tal, leav­ing more than 120 peo­ple dead on Fri­day night, the blood­i­est such in­ci­dent in Europe for more than a decade.

Thou­sands of Parisians used the hash­tag #Por­te­Ou­verte (open door) to or­gan­ise places to stay for peo­ple who had been left stranded - par­tic­u­larly in ar­eas that had been at­tacked. The hash­tag was re-posted 480,000 times as the hours passed with the city on lock down, making it the sec­ond-most used key­word on Twit­ter in France af­ter #fusil­lade (shoot­ing) which was used 700,000 times. “If peo­ple are stranded, I can ac­com­mo­date two of three peo­ple on Rue des Mar­tyrs,” of­fered one user, while WroteGabDeLion­court said: “Our sofa is al­ways avail­able for two/three peo­ple in Maraich­ers”.

Oth­ers set up an emer­gency web­site “por­te­ou­” to help peo­ple find tem­po­rary shel­ter. Mean­while, Face­book launched a “Paris Terror At­tacks” check-in fea­ture to let peo­ple sig­nal whether they were out of harm’s way, then no­tify their con­nec­tions on the so­cial net­work­ing site. “Quickly find and con­nect with friends in the area,” a mes­sage from the Face­book Safety Check ser­vice read. “Mark them safe if you know they’re OK.”

The fea­ture also al­lowed peo­ple to check which friends listed as be­ing in Paris had not yet checked in as safe. “We are shocked and sad­dened by the events un­fold­ing in Paris,” a Face­book spokesman told AFP. “Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is crit­i­cal in th­ese mo­ments both for peo­ple there and for their friends and fam­i­lies anx­ious for news.” — AFP

PARIS: Peo­ple hug each other be­fore be­ing evac­u­ated by bus near the Bat­a­clan con­cert hall in cen­tral Paris early yes­ter­day. — AFP

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