Airbnb, Facebook, stock markets, French police and more: Corporate responses to the Paris attacks

As the world reacted with horror to the terror attacks in Paris on Friday night, firms outlined what they were doing to commemorate or assist, and how their services were running.

(Credit: Moyan Brenn via Flickr)
(Credit: Moyan Brenn via Flickr)

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, social media and Twitter in particular proved a key comms tool. PR industry figures and organisations, particularly those with strong links to Paris, reacted to the attacks, while Twitter users also complained of brands not having stopped their marketing posts.

Flags, light and silence

French flags were flown at half mast across the world, and many landmarks were lit in the country's colours - or went dark as a sign of respect. Numerous events and organised have observed a minute's silence.

Facebook

Facebook's Safety Check feature allowed users to see which of their friends were in the area, with users able to mark either themselves or friends as safe. It has been used by millions of members, but the firm has also been criticised for not having activated the tool during other recent disasters, and has now said it will be deployed more frequently. The website TechCrunch said it was the first time Safety Check was used during a human rather than natural disaster.

Airbnb

The company decided to cancel Airbnb Open events on Saturday, which was scheduled to be the third day of conference sessions and events for hosts using the platform, including an awards evening. The firm posted details for people with a booking in the city, and advised following the French Police or Parisian authorities on Twitter for updates.

Airbnb also activated its Disaster Response plan, an initiative it said evolved from its hosts during 2012's Hurrican Sandy in North America. The plan meant Airbnb contacting all hosts in the Paris area, and waiving all fees on Paris bookings from 13 to 17 November, as well as allowing hosts to offer accomodation for free - something that hundreds of Parisians had done.

APEC security

The Philippines has increased security as 20 leaders prepare to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Manila from Wednesday. Philippines officials say there has been no intelligence suggesting there might be an attack on the summit, which will be attended by US President Barack Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. However, around 30,000 police and soldiers are expected to guard the meeting.

"There are no credible threats, I can assure you that," said national police spokesman Wilben Mayor. "But, in general, we have intensified intelligence operations and beefed up security."

Meanwhile Asian leaders joined in with the global condemnation of the attacks, posting their views on social media sites. "It is not the first time innocent civilians have been massacred like this in this troubled world. But each time it happens we again feel appalled and outraged beyond words," wrote Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Facebook. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak wrote on Twitter: "Malaysia condemns the outrageous attacks on innocent civilians... I am shocked with what happened in Paris but we must remain united and undeterred in the war against terrorism."

Stock markets hit

The attacks in Paris contributed to a sell-off in Asian stocks on Monday with airline operators and tourism-related business especially affected. The Nikkei index Japan fell by nearly 1.3% while markets in Australia, South Korea and Hong Kong - among the first major markets to open on Monday following the attacks - all saw falls.

"What might be affected from the Paris attacks could be a change in spending from the consumer over the coming quarter and a possible shift in confidence," Evan Lucas, market strategist at trading platform provider IG in Melbourne, wrote in a note to clients on Monday.

French police

In addition to the call for people with information to come forward, the Police Nationale used Twitter to urge people not to share distressing images of the attacks, or to spread unsubstantiated rumours.

Business closures

A number of businesses in Paris were closed on Saturday, and some have still not opened their doors. HSBC said its operations were closed on Saturday, while the website of the Eiffel Tower said it remained closed "closed until further notice". Disneyland Paris will not open until Wednesday, its website said.

Eurostar

The London-Paris trainline was open on Saturday, although passengers booked to travel that day were offered a free exchange in a tweet sent on the early hours of Saturday morning.

Eurostar later tweeted: "Trains will be running today and please check our website for updates." The firm's website today says: "Our trains are operating to our normal schedule, please allow for additional time to check in and complete all security checks before travel."

England v France football match

The French and English football teams were due to face each other in London on Tuesday. A statement from England's Football Association on Saturday said: "During the conversation the Fédération Française de Football (FFF) made it clear that they still wish to play against us on Tuesday night at Wembley Stadium."

Another statement from England coach Roy Hodgson said: "The match will be a serious occasion but one that shows that the football world is united against these atrocities." The words to the French national anthem will be distributed to England fans ahead of the match. One French player lost a relative in the attacks.

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