Using Social Media to Aid Typhoon Rescue Efforts

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Nov. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Qatar Computing Research Institute's Patrick Meier discusses aid agencies use of social media to aid the victims of Typhoon Haiyan with Cory Johnson on Bloomberg Television's "Bloomberg West." (Source: Bloomberg)

How is this working, given the storm?

Better than planned, to be honest.

This is very new technology.

We were only able to tested once before during the pakistan earthquake.

Considering, it is quite impressive.

We were able to get to a quarter million treat -- tweets over the weekend and provide some situational awareness for our partners.

Explain what that looks like on the ground.

Of course.

A quarter million tweets related to the typhoon in one way or another.

Not all of that information will be relevant.

It is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

There are a few dozen tweets that will have life-saving, relevant information, letting us know where the most damage is, where the most needs are.

Where displaced populations have been displaced.

That is information we can get in real time.

We needed this platform to extract that meaningful information in as close to real time as possible.

How is this kind of data in the third world different from the first world, what are the advantages and weaknesses of this approach?

In the case of the philippines, you have a sophisticated population of social media users.

In the past decade, it has been remarkable.

The fact is, this is an ideal situation where we can find informative and rich content on social media.

92% of people online in the philippines are on facebook, for example.

Including a high number for twitter and other social media platforms.

In this case, it is ideal.

It's weeks ago, in pakistan, which does not have a large media footprint, it was not as useful as it is in this context.

Very similar to what we saw in hurricane sandy in new york.

I am thinking about what went on in the boston marathon bombing, when social media was sort of the first information source.

There was so much bad information going on during the course of the day.

How do you distinguish the signals to the noise?

Very good question.

Our colleagues at the bbc launched the user generated content hub a few years ago, whose whole purpose was to verify social content.

They were operational in one year before twitter was born.

Applying the standards is something we are looking to do.

My team and i have shown that you can predict the credibility of tweets automatically.

That is a platform that we are developing right now.

It is a combination of using investigative journalism skills, common sense, and ultimately, once we extract the information and we pass it on to our colleagues, it is up to them to vouch for the information and to get a better sense of whether they can use it.

It sounds like you are giving me the why, but how can you tell if the tweets are real or not?

Triangulation is key to investigative journalism.

When we find a dozen tweets that record on the same issue, that gives you more reassurance that maybe there is something going on there.

Importantly, a big part of this digital humanitarian operation is assisting through images.

When we start to see a collapsed building or bridge from five different angles, taken by five different individuals, then you can start triangulating in that way as well.

I do not want to say there is a silver bullet there, but there is a lot we can do to verify.

Really interesting.

Patrick meyer, thank you very

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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