Guidance for Verifying Sources of Emergency Information Online

laptop with internet icon and magnifying glass

Knowing how to find and recognize valid information during an emergency is critical, but it can also be a challenge, especially when social media changes so rapidly. An article in a recent bulletin of the Oregon Office of Emergency Management offered some helpful tips for verifying sources of information on Twitter:

  • Check the spelling of the agency name, location and when the account was created.
  • Click the blue checkmark* on Twitter profiles to see why it’s verified. 
  • Check a Twitter account’s Followers and Following lists. Do other government agencies and officials follow the profile? Do news media agencies follow the profile?
  • Check multiple sources to verify emergency information.
  • Check official government agency websites.
  • Check what the agency posted on other social media platforms.
  • Check local news media sources.
  • If you suspect an imposter or false information, report it to Twitter.

The best way to verify official government social media profiles is to search for the agency website with a web browser. Most government websites provide links to their social media. The web address should match the link in the profile and be a trusted domain like “.gov.”

Read the article in the OEM Weekly Watch bulletin.

*Since the publication of this article, Twitter CEO Elon Musk announced that checkmark “verification” badges in additional colors will shortly be introduced.

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