By Jeff John Roberts
October 31, 2017

Facebook has activated its Safety Check feature to let users in Lower Manhattan inform their friends and family that they are safe, following a Tuesday afternoon rampage in which police say a truck driver veered onto a bike path near the World Trade Center, killing at least six people and injuring at least nine others.

The incident involved a man driving a truck marked with a Home Depot logo down a popular bicycle path and running over several cyclists. Initial reports indicated a suspect is in custody. Authorities are treating the matter as a terrorist attack.

Facebook turned on its alert at about 4:40 p.m. E.T., asking people to mark themselves safe in response to what it is calling “The Violent Incident in Manhattan.” The incident took place just north of the World Trade Center and Ground Zero site.

The social network has also turned on a community feature that allows people nearby to offer assistance. Here is a screenshot from Facebook:

The green dots on the map represent people offering services, including volunteer help or to donate blood.

Facebook’s Safety Check has become a familiar occurrence in recent years in response to terror attacks in Europe, the United States and elsewhere. The service is also used in response to other emergencies like natural disasters.

The tool also permits users to ask their friends on Facebook to mark themselves as safe.

As of 5 p.m., the lower Manhattan neighborhood where the attack occurred remained a commotion of helicopters and sirens.

This story was updated at 6pm to confirm authorities declared the incident a terror attack.

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