According to a recent incident in the Netherlands, Twitter is being criticized for not being the appropriate platform to rely on for emergency information. Dutch politicians and a prominent online group have expressed concerns about using Twitter during emergencies due to issues related to accessibility, accountability, and reliability.
The incident in question occurred during a major storm that hit the province of North Holland, including Amsterdam. The storm was reported as the most intense summer storm on record in the country and resulted in one fatality and extensive damage. In response, the national emergency alert service sent out push notifications urging people in the affected areas to stay indoors and follow updates from the regional fire department’s Twitter account.
However, several politicians and the digital rights group Bits of Freedom have criticized this approach, arguing that it is inappropriate to rely on a private company like Twitter for crucial information during emergencies. They point out that the government has its own websites specifically designed for crisis communications and should utilize those instead.
Ber Engels, spokesman for Bits of Freedom, highlighted various problems associated with using Twitter during emergencies. One issue is misinformation, as there can be multiple tweets containing false information alongside genuine updates from emergency services. Additionally, Engels noted that accessing information quickly on Twitter can be challenging for individuals without accounts. He also mentioned that Twitter recently implemented limits on viewing tweets for non-subscribers.
One particular concern raised by critics is that the Twitter account of the regional fire department is not verified. This lack of verification raises doubts about the authenticity and credibility of the information shared through their account. The most recent tweet from this account directs users to a live blog hosted on the City of Amsterdam website.
Twitter itself has not responded to these criticisms so far. When contacted by Reuters for comment regarding this matter, they could not be reached immediately.
The use of social media platforms like Twitter during emergencies raises important questions about reliability and accountability. While these platforms offer real-time updates and reach a wide audience quickly, they also come with inherent risks, such as the spread of misinformation. In situations where accurate and reliable information is crucial, relying solely on social media platforms may not be the most effective approach.
The finishing touch, Dutch politicians and a prominent online group have voiced concerns about using Twitter for emergency communications. They argue that the government should rely on its own websites specifically designed for crisis communications instead of relying on a private company like Twitter. The criticisms highlight issues related to accessibility, accountability, reliability, and the potential spread of misinformation. As emergencies require accurate and timely information, it is important to carefully consider the appropriate channels through which this information is disseminated.
It is apparently: “Twitter not suited for emergency communications, Dutch say after storm.”