Over the years, Twitter has become a critical communication tool for responding to natural disasters.
Our teams have a longstanding commitment to working alongside global partners and developers to share important information, provide real-time updates, facilitate relief efforts, and much more. We also take steps to address misleading information that can surface during these crises.
To help ensure our service remains a resource for as many people as possible, we’ve put together a snapshot of some of the ways Twitter can be used to help during natural disasters.
It’s important to raise awareness about natural disasters before they happen. That’s why Twitter regularly collaborates with organizations to keep people informed about and prepared for extreme weather and other potential emergencies.
In September, for example, Twitter Australia partnered with the Australian Red Cross on a Timeline and Trend Takeover campaign designed to help people prepare for weather-related emergencies. The #EmergencyReady campaign was viewed nearly 5 million times in 24 hours.
Being prepared for disasters means no one is left behind or overlooked. Twitter Australia generously provided national visibility of key safety messages about disaster preparedness, at a critical time of year for all Australians.
Twitter partners frequently with crisis response organizations all over the world to help enhance the capacity of those communicating with populations affected by natural disasters.
When it comes to staying safe during natural disasters, Twitter can be a powerful resource for sharing critical information.
In the wake of the 2017 Puebla earthquake in Mexico, for example, we collaborated with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to put together a shareable list of best practices for communicating on Twitter during times of crisis.
Similarly in 2021, as Japan approached the 10-year anniversary of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, our team shared a set of illustrations with important information about how best to communicate on Twitter in an emergency situation.
This year we went further, organizing Twitter Spaces events with local Japanese media and other social media platforms to discuss reporting strategies for disaster prevention and readiness. We also created a custom origami crane emoji and hashtags to encourage participation in critical conversations around the subject.
When people search for keywords on Twitter related to active emergency situations, we work to ensure they’re met with authoritative and credible information first.
Search prompts are one important way we do this. When heavy flooding occurred in Pakistan beginning in June 2022, Twitter launched a #ThereIsHelp prompt to redirect our Pakistani audience to an emergency helpline at the Pakistani Red Crescent Society. Similarly, during this year’s Taal Volcano eruption in the Philippines and Typhoon Noru in Southeast Asia, search prompts were created to help quickly deliver credible information to people on Twitter impacted by these extreme weather events.
During natural disasters, Twitter has tools such as Moments and Lists that can be used to create a centralized source of credible information.
In anticipation of 2022’s Hurricane Ian in the United States, for example, a Twitter Moment was created to elevate public service information as well as amplify announcements from local law enforcement and emergency services. Moments can also be used to address and correct misleading information, like when comments on hurricane preparedness made by the US president in August 2021 were mistakenly attributed to Hurricane Ian.
In addition to Moments, Twitter Lists can be used to collect and quickly share information about natural disasters and emergency services. In Japan, for example, a dedicated TwitterLifeline List has been created highlighting the Twitter accounts of prefectures, crisis organizations, and public transportation services. Twitter México recently published a list highlighting earthquake-related Tweets in real time.
There’s a long history of individuals and organizations finding innovative ways to harness the power of Twitter.
For example, in India, partners in the medical industry came together to create @BloodDonorsIndia which amplifies the blood donation requests of individual patients dealing with a range of health problems. The account’s 1.2 million followers are able to reach potential donors that otherwise would have gone unreached, resulting in eight lives a day being saved through its efforts according to its own reporting.
In another example, developers in California used our API to create an automated Twitter account that has been documenting earthquakes in the San Francisco Bay area since 2009.
Twitter also builds data partnerships to better understand the conversations happening on the platform. Most recently, we analyzed four extreme weather events to better determine patterns of those affected by natural disasters and build predictions for future events.
We’re continually working to improve the ways we help communities prepare for and communicate during emergencies. Keep your eyes on @Twitter for the latest updates.
The main reason I like [Twitter] as a source of data is that it integrates not just a measure of typical exposure — which is ‘Did the water come onto the land in a place where it wasn’t supposed to be? [It also] measures ‘What are people noticing? What are people talking about?’ Twitter can give us this aggregated measure of what those social consequences of that particular flood are.