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Sandy prompts Facebook pleas: 'Stay safe'

Brandon Griggs, CNN
Facebook has been flooded with expressions of concern about family and friends in the path of Hurricane Sandy.
Facebook has been flooded with expressions of concern about family and friends in the path of Hurricane Sandy.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Among most frequently posted words on Facebook Monday: "stay safe" or "be safe"
  • A Hurricane Sandy page, launched Sunday, had more than 35,000 likes Monday afternoon

(CNN) -- With Hurricane Sandy pummeling the Eastern Seaboard, friends and family are looking out for people in its path -- on Facebook.

The second-most frequent words or phrases posted by U.S. users of the social network late Sunday or early Monday were "stay safe" or "be safe," according to data provided by Facebook to CNN. The phrase trailed only variations of "Sandy" or "hurricane" among frequently mentioned words by Facebook users.

Also in the top 10: references to "prayers" or "praying" and "my friends," along with "storm," "East Coast," "power" and "winds."

The good wishes reaffirm Facebook's place as a global message board where the news of the day is posted, exchanged and commented upon. Amidst a partisan presidential election that has divided much of the country, the messages also struck a welcome note of concern for others.

Fugate: People need to be safe

One Hurricane Sandy page, launched Sunday, had more than 35,000 likes by Monday afternoon. People used it as an online bulletin board, posting reports and photos of flooded streets in Atlantic City, New Jersey; Hampton, Virginia, and other coastal cities.

"Sending love, prayers, & support to all those affected by this storm!...My heart goes out to you all<3" wrote one user in a typical post.

"Any updates for New York (Manhattan) would be greatly appreciated. Have family out there," wrote another, a California woman.

This being the Internet, others made crude jokes or inappropriate comments. One insurance company even posted a brazen appeal to homeowners whose property was damaged by the storm.

In what was perhaps wishful thinking, a handful of "I Survived Hurricane Sandy" Facebook pages had also popped up by Monday afternoon -- before the storm made landfall.

Messages of concern and support were also appearing on Instagram, the mobile photo-sharing app that Facebook bought earlier this year.

More than 244,000 photos with the #Sandy hashtag had been posted to Instagram by Monday afternoon, and CEO Kevin Systrom told journalism hub Poynter.org that his users were posting 10 Hurricane Sandy pictures every second.

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