|Social Media Response to Nepal Earthquake
By: Jessica Cherok
Social media is once again proving how vital it can be in disaster situations. Following this weekend’s earthquake in Nepal, several social media sites have created tools to help people let their loved ones know they are safe or gather information on the missing.
Facebook created Safety Check, where users can “mark themselves safe.” Google has the Person Finder tool, which creates a digital trail of the person and their location. Person Finder also lets you subscribe to updates about others, as well as get information about the locations.
Twitter in particular was used by Indian officials to help coordinate the rescue and evacuation of citizens stranded in Nepal.
As always, though, there have been rumors and misinformation surrounding the disaster. In India, misinformation became prevalent thanks to an account claiming another earthquake would be happening. The Indian Telecom and IT Minister had to make a statement in Parliament. He said, “Many comments come on social media that an earthquake is going to happen at this hour. We should adopt restraint and not spread rumors on social media. I also appeal to people not to pay attention to such rumors being spread on social media.”
Social media users were warned to get information from reputable sources.
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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