Beyond the Trustworthy Tweet: A Deeper Understanding of Microblogged Data Use by Disaster Response and Humanitarian Relief Organizations

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Andrea H. Tapia, Kathleen A. Moore and Nichloas J. Johnson

This paper presents findings from interviews conducted with representatives from large international disaster response organizations concerning their use of social media data in crisis response. The team presents findings in which the barriers to use by responding organizations have gone beyond simple discussions of trustworthiness to that of more operational issues rather than mere data quality. The team argues that the landscape of the use of microblogged data in crisis response is varied, with pockets of use and acceptance among organizations. The team found that microblogged data is useful to responders in situations where information is limited, such as at the beginning of an emergency response effort, and when the risks of ignoring an accurate response outweigh the risks of acting on an incorrect one. In some situations, such as search and rescue operations, microblogged data may never meet the standards of quality required. In others, such as resource and supply management, microblogging data could be useful as long as it is appropriately verified and classified.