Investigators from the University of East London Cass School of Education determined that social networking websites such as Twitter and Facebook have the ability to pick up on signs of an impeding disaster. At the same time, these websites can help correct misinformation.
Unlike traditional news mediums, social media truly works by the people and for the people, with users spread all around the globe. When a disaster or natural catastrophe strikes in an area, updates can be expected within seconds, and then minutes.
As the situation progresses, first-hand reports about what is happening are critical to authorities, which can then act based on the data without waiting for traditional messages to arrive. In this manner, Facebook and Twitter can literally help save lives.
Details of how this works will be presented at the ‘Violent Nature’ Research Councils UK debate, on October 25. Representatives from the University of Cambridge, Save the Children UK and Northumbria University will also be making presentations at the conference.