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.

NASA’s Earth Observations Can Help Disaster Preparedness and Response on the Ground

Colored satellite image of the region to the east of the Great Salt Lake in Utah.
An Unwrapped Interferogram satellite image on 3/22/2020, for Utah’s Magna earthquake, can be used to identify where surface deformation may have occurred. Photo attribution: ASF DAAC 2020 using GAMMA software. Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data 2020, processed by ESA.

The Disasters program area within NASA’s Applied Sciences Program offers satellite data and analysis to help improve the resilience of communities and support response and recovery following earthquakes and other disasters.

Information and analysis provided by the program can help communities identify vulnerabilities and better plan for and mitigate their hazards. When disaster does strike, the Disasters Program team works with local emergency response agencies to connect them to timely, relevant imagery, data, and analysis that supports informed decision-making and impactful allocation of resources.

To learn more, check out the NASA Disasters Mapping Portal and the following links on the program’s website: