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