Twitter partners with FEMA, Red Cross for emergency alerts feature
The service is designed to deliver critical information during emergencies
IDG News Service - Twitter wants to bolster its position as a go-to source of information during emergencies and other crises with a new notifications feature.
Twitter Alerts is designed to let credible organizations enhance the visibility of certain tweets when other communications services are not available. It is intended for crises, disaster and emergency communications such as warnings of imminent dangers, preventive instructions, evacuation directions and crowd management.
"Twitter Alerts is a new way to get accurate and important information when you need it most," Twitter product manager Gaby Pena said Wednesday.
More than 100 nongovernmental organizations and government agencies in the U.S., Japan and Korea are participating in the program. In the U.S., those groups include the American Red Cross, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
In Japan and Korea, other participating groups include Tenki.JP, as well as global nonprofit groups. The service will be expanded to include more public institutions and NGOs around the world, Twitter said.
Alerts is available to local, national and international institutions that provide critical information to the general public, Twitter said. Organizations interested in joining can fill out an enrollment form.
A notification will be sent to a Twitter user's phone via SMS whenever an organization they've signed up with designates a tweet as an alert. If the user has Twitter's app for iOS or Android-powered devices, a push notification will also be sent. Alerts will be marked with an orange bell, Twitter said.
Users can subscribe to the notifications from the organization's setup page, such as FEMA's. On the Web, users will also be able to see if an organization is participating in the program when they visit the group's profile page.
The service follows Twitter's introduction last year of Lifeline, a tool to help Japanese users find emergency accounts during crises. Since then, the site has been working on a related feature for people worldwide, Twitter's Pena said.
Twitter is already a popular source of information during emergencies, crises and other high-profile events, but misinformation can be easily spread through the service. After the Boston Marathon bombings earlier this year, many people turned to Twitter for updates, but inaccurate information and hoaxes were also posted to the site.
- Silicon Valley's 19 Coolest Places to Work
- Is Windows 8 Development Worth the Trouble?
- 8 Books Every IT Leader Should Read This Year
- 10 Hot Hadoop Startups to Watch
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Logicalis eBook: SAP HANA: The Need for Speed Without timely business insights, organizations today can suffer logistical, manufacturing, and even financial disaster in a matter of minutes
- Neustar 2014 DDoS Attacks and Impact Report For the third consecutive year, Neustar surveyed hundreds of companies on distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. The survey reveals evidence that the...
- Acxiom Case Study This case study, which focuses on Acxiom, explores how the company was able to secure employee data, reduce migration costs and boost productivity...
- Windows® XP Migration: Protect and Secure Critical Data With the end of the Microsoft Windows XP operating system's lifecycle on April 8, 2014, businesses are faced with the decision to migrate...
- Top 4 Digital Signage Fails Join RMG Networks for a look at four of the most common reasons digital signage fails in corporate businesses. Learn about strategies to...
- Building Tomorrow's Infrastructure Listen to this podcast to discover how Crider Foods worked with PC Connection to update their IT infrastructure, while maintaining compliance and control. All Social Media White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!