In the last five years social media have played an increasing role in emergencies and disasters. Social media sites rank as the fourth most popular source to access emergency information. They have been used by individuals and communities to warn others of unsafe areas or situations, inform friends and family that someone is safe, and raise funds for disaster relief. Facebook supports numerous emergency-related organizations, including Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM), The Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) Project, as well as numerous universities with disaster-related programs.
This report summarizes how social media have been used by emergency management officials and agencies. It also examines the potential benefits, as well as the implications, of using social media in the context of emergencies and disasters.
This report will be updated as events warrant.
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
Social Media and Disasters: Current Uses, Future Options, and Policy Considerations