Mitigating information overload in social media during conflicts and crises: design and evaluation of a cross-platform alerting system

Kaufhold Marc-André, Rupp Nicola, Reuter Christian, Habdank Matthias

The research field of crisis informatics examines, amongst others, the potentials and barriers of social media use during conflicts and crises. Social media allow emergency services to reach the public easily in the context of crisis communication and receive valuable information (e.g. pictures) from social media data. However, the vast amount of data generated during large-scale incidents can lead to issues of information overload and quality. To mitigate these issues, this paper proposes the semi-automatic creation of alerts including keyword, relevance and information quality filters based on cross-platform social media data. We conducted empirical studies and workshops with emergency services across Europe to raise requirements, then iteratively designed and implemented an approach to support emergency services, and performed multiple evaluations, including live demonstrations and field trials, to research the potentials of social media-based alerts. Finally, we present the findings and implications based on semi-structured interviews with emergency services, highlighting the need for usable configurability and white-box algorithm representation.

Social media, emergency management, social media alerts, information overload, system evaluation

Publication type
Article in Journal

Peer reviewed

Publication status


Behaviour & Information Technology (BIT)



Universität Paderborn, FP7 Projekt EmerGent