Robert Mardini, director of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), says that the organization has its own monitoring unit that uses software to monitor Twitter and other online sites in the areas where the organization operates. This can help keep workers safe in non-standard environments, for example.
Of course, you can’t believe everything you read on Twitter. During a crisis, emergency responders using social media must know what is false or unreliable, and when to report dangerous rumors. That’s where Twitter’s control may be important, experts say, and the area of concern as the smaller company changes. In combat environments, military campaigns sometimes include cyber activities that attempt to exploit fake weapon platforms.
Mardini says: “If the ICRC or our partners in the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement come across false rumors about our work or practices, it could put the safety of our staff at risk.”
In May, Twitter implemented a special mitigation plan in Ukraine to combat disinformation related to its conflict with Russia. Nathaniel Raymond, director of the Humanitarian Research Lab at Yale’s School of Public Health, says that while Twitter hasn’t announced the policy recently, he and his team have seen evidence of it being used consistently since Musk took over as CEO and was fired. more efficient workers. “We’re definitely seeing more bots,” he says. “This is speculation, but it seems that the information space has narrowed.” Musk’s takeover has also called into question Twitter’s ability to store evidence of war crimes that may be posted on the platform. “Before we know who we can talk to so that the evidence can be preserved,” says Raymond. “Now we don’t know what will happen.”
Some emergency responders are worried about the consequences of Twitter’s new verification process, which is about to end after some users who paid for the verification check used their new profile to impersonate big companies, including Coca-Cola and the drug company Eli Lilly. Emergency responders and people on the front lines of the disaster all need to quickly find out if the official Twitter account is the presence of an official organization, says R. Clayton Wukich, a professor at Cleveland State University who studies how governments use it. social media. He said: “They are making real life and death decisions.”
WIRED asked Twitter if the company’s special policy for operating in Ukraine still exists, but did not receive a response as the company recently fired its communications team. Company blog post published on Wednesday says that “none of our policies have changed” and that the platform will rely more on exploitative machines. However, autonomous systems are not perfect and require continuous maintenance by operators to meet changing demands over time.
Don’t expect emergency managers to get off Twitter right away. They are, by nature, careful, and they cannot tear their good behavior overnight. FEMA’s director of public affairs, Jaclyn Rothenberg, did not respond to questions about whether she was considering changing her strategy on Twitter. He simply said that “social media has been a huge help in emergency response for rapid communication in the event of a disaster and will continue to be at our organization.” But on a practical level, people have come to expect sudden changes on Twitter and it can be dangerous for organizations to leave the platform.
For people working in emergency management, the Twitter frenzy has raised larger questions about the role the Internet should play in crisis response. If Twitter becomes unreliable, can any other service fulfill the same role as a source of distraction and entertainment, as well as reliable information on an unfolding disaster?
“Without these kinds of places, it’s not clear where people are going,” said Leysia Palen, a professor at the University of Colorado Boulder. Twitter wasn’t perfect, and its research shows that the platform’s team has fallen short of developing high-quality information. “But it was better than having nothing, and I don’t know if we can say that anymore,” he says.
Some emergency managers are developing emergency plans. If Twitter becomes too dangerous or spammy, they can turn their accounts into one-way communication tools, the only way to provide traffic instead of collecting information and allaying the fears of the concerned people directly. Eventually, he was able to leave the platform. “This is emergency management,” says Joseph Riser, public information officer for Los Angeles’ Emergency Management Department. “We always have a plan B.”