Twitter Emergency Alerts
The increasingly popular social media platform, Twitter, recently announced that it would be providing its users with a system for Twitter Emergency Alerts.
The platform claimed that these alerts could be used to transmit critical information when other more traditional means of communication are unavailable. Twitter stated that their new Twitter Emergency Alerts could be used during natural disasters and other emergencies in order to provide information to other users.
In a blog post explaining the launch, Twitter product manager, Gaby Pena stated, “We know from our users how important it is to be able to receive reliable information during these times. Twitter Alerts is a new way to get accurate and important information when you need it most.” The new feature has its origin in the Lifeline service which Twitter offered to its Japanese users last year. This service enabled users to find emergency accounts during a crisis. Pena continued to explain, “And since then, we’ve been working on a related feature for people around the world.”
True to form Twitter unveiled the new service via a blog post. “Today, we’re launching Twitter Alerts, a new feature that brings us one step closer to helping users get important and accurate information from credible organizations during emergencies, natural disasters or moments when other communications services aren’t accessible.”
The additional benefits of signing up to the Twitter Emergency Alerts feature include a direct notification to the user’s phone for tweets which are marked as Alerts from a selection of senders. Already a number of key national groups have been authorised to send out Twitter Emergency Alerts through the new system. According to the Daily Telegraph these national groups are situated in the United States, South Korea and Japan. Twitter has stated its ambition to make this service available to “public institutions and NGOs around the world.”
The Daily Telegraph named a number of the organisations which have been given the authority to send Twitter Emergency Alerts. These organisations include American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency and The World Health Organization. Additionally, it was made clear that a number of unnamed governmental and non-governmental organisations had been granted permission in both South Korea and Japan.
A spokeswoman from Twitter said the Lifeline service became instrumental during the Japanese tsunami. Lifeline became one of the key tools for gaining information about this natural disaster due to the destruction it caused to the countries conventional infrastructure. Other incidents where Lifeline was used to good effect include Hurricane Sandy and the Boston terrorist attacks. The spokeswoman explained that a wide number of organisations and groups stand to benefit from the new Alerts feature. These groups include law enforcement and public safety agencies. Also emergency management agencies, local governments and private organisations which are involved in disaster relief.