EmerGent - Guidelines to increase the benefit of social media in emergencies

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Primary Target Country
Publishing Organisation EmerGent FP7 Project
Language English
Year Published 2017
Target Audience Civil Society, Practitioners, Researchers
Status Published
Disaster Management Phase After, Before, During
Covers Thematic Content creation, Legal/Standards, Social Media Strategy, Social Media Team building
Audience Experience Level Intermediate, Starter
Source Website http://www.fp7-emergent.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/20170529 D7.3 Guidelines to increase the benefit of social media EmerGent.pdf
Abstract Guidelines for emergency services & public authorities

Prepare to start using social media

  • Consider the legal implications
  • Consider the needs in human and financial resources
  • Prepare a social media strategy
  • Clearly communicate the social media strategy and provide staff training
  • Explore what Information Communication Technology (ICT) tools are available for social media monitoring and analysis
  • Use of apps for direct communication (Authorities-to-Citizens and Citizens-to-Authorities)
  • Plan the next steps to start using social media

Before an emergency

  • Provide information about your organization, its operations and emergency prevention and preparation
  • Raise awareness on the use of social media
  • Use of ICT tools for social media monitoring and analysis
  • Team up with other groups and organizations
  • Publish alerts for the risk of an upcoming emergency

During an emergency

  • Understand how social media is used by citizens during emergencies
  • Establish communication with the public
  • Request information from the public
  • Use of ICT tools for social media monitoring and analysis
  • Respond to false information and rumors
  • Collaborate with emergent group initiatives

After an emergency

  • Continue the communication with the citizens
  • Evaluate your social media use during the emergency

Guidelines for citizens

General Aspects while using social media

  • Interact with respect and courtesy
  • You are responsible for your writing, think of possible consequences
  • Protect your privacy and check the privacy settings
  • Respect intellectual property rights, including pictures, graphics, audio and video files
  • Verify your information before posting
  • Correct a mistake if you made one

Before an emergency

  • Be prepared:
  • Know the social media accounts of your local and national ES and follow them. This will help find real-time information during an emergency.
  • Read what to expect from Emergency Services in social media.
  • Follow the information from Emergency Services on how to prevent and stay safe during emergencies

During an emergency

  • Stay up-to-date and follow official accounts and local organizations to get information updates
  • Social media does not replace 112. If in danger, always call 112 first.
  • Be responsible and avoid spreading rumors!

When you post information about an emergency in social media:

  • Always mention the Emergency Services account or include any already used hashtags. When possible, report a location and use photos
  • Tell only facts and don’t send information you are not certain about
  • Share only official and reliable information and avoid spreading rumors!
  • If you spot or shared false information, please correct it
  • Forward received official messages to your contacts or share them

Volunteering initiatives

  • Look for emergent volunteer initiatives in Facebook groups, Google crisis maps or trusted users in Twitter; they may help to increase the impact of your activities!
  • If you intend to initiate your emergent volunteer initiative, please check for existing initiatives first and carefully chose the scope of your possible contribution.

After an emergency

  • Follow official accounts and local organizations to get information updates
  • Communicate even after a crisis and use social media for the processing of the event
  • Give feedback to the authorities
  • Restore missing contact and ask for welfare of family and friends
  • Help others reconstructing/handling the event

Data Protection and Privacy Guidelines for Processing Social Media Data


  • Responsibility
    • Project responsibility
    • Who do you answer to?
  • Is what you are proposing lawful?
    • Consent
    • Transparency
    • Special Categories of Personal Data
  • Data rights of the citizen
    • Subject Access Request
    • Right of Erasure
    • Data Portability
  • Project controls
    • Data protection officer
    • Privacy impact assessment
    • Continuous monitoring
  • Infrastructure controls
    • Privacy by design
    • Codes of Conduct
    • Breach handling
    • Subject Access Request handling

Please note: Access to the following links is currently only available for project partners

Comprehensive advice for Citizens https://safetyinnovationcenter.sharepoint.com/:b:/r/sites/LINKS_shared/Freigegebene%20Dokumente/WP4/Guidelines/Guideline%20Documents/Working%20documents/Action%20cards/G01_tips%20for%20citizens_extract_level1.pdf

Key words for emergency services & authorities https://safetyinnovationcenter.sharepoint.com/:b:/r/sites/LINKS_shared/Freigegebene%20Dokumente/WP4/Guidelines/Guideline%20Documents/Working%20documents/Action%20cards/G01_tips%20for%20authorities_extract_level2.pdf

Comprehensive advice for emergency services & authorities https://safetyinnovationcenter.sharepoint.com/:b:/r/sites/LINKS_shared/Freigegebene%20Dokumente/WP4/Guidelines/Guideline%20Documents/Working%20documents/Action%20cards/G01_tips%20for%20authorities_extract%20level1.pdf

Key words Data Protection https://safetyinnovationcenter.sharepoint.com/:b:/r/sites/LINKS_shared/Freigegebene%20Dokumente/WP4/Guidelines/Guideline%20Documents/Working%20documents/Action%20cards/G01_data%20protection_extract_level2.pdf

Comprehensive advice Data Protection https://safetyinnovationcenter.sharepoint.com/:b:/r/sites/LINKS_shared/Freigegebene%20Dokumente/WP4/Guidelines/Guideline%20Documents/Working%20documents/Action%20cards/G01_data%20protection_extract_level1.pdf

Is Archived No
Covers platforms

Recommended reading:

A set of guidelines mainly intended for emergency services & public authorities how to communicate in social media and help to decrease the uncertainty with this new, changing and maybe unfamiliar medium. Data protection is also addressed.