Signal case study ferguson missouri


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Social Media Case Study Ferguson, Missouri

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Signal case study ferguson missouri

  1. 1. © Signal Corporation August 2014 Page 1 of 6 Signal White Paper Ferguson, Missouri - August 2014
  2. 2. © Signal Corporation August 2014 Page 2 of 6 On August 9, a police officer shot and killed a black teenager named Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. In the aftermath, Ferguson was rocked by protests, some of which turned violent. Events evolved under the watchful eye of the world as they were reported by press, and the people of Ferguson, in real time on social media. Throughout this incident Signal was used to monitor events. This case study examines how, during the early stages of this incident, critical information was gathered through the effective monitoring of social channels. The Incident As events in Ferguson unfolded the people of Ferguson did not hesitate to make themselves heard. There was no waiting for news conferences upon the hour, the drawing up of petitions, organising rallies or the releasing of crafted statements after legal consultation. They shared their needs, fears, expectations in text, images and videos all in real time and all on the world stage using social media. It was clear that information was not going to be sanitised or controlled. The means to communicate was in the hands of the people and they were going to tell their story. Social media has changed not only the way developing information about events like this get shared, but who gets to share it. And in this case it is the people of Ferguson receiving the attention, and commentary, of the world. The Challenge The evident power of social media provided both a challenge and an opportunity for the emergency services. As events in Ferguson developed the volume of information was staggering (Fig 1) and has the potential to overwhelm agencies; but it also provides an opportunity to embrace the social medium and use it to drive response, investigation, recovery and future planning.
  3. 3. © Signal Corporation August 2014 Page 3 of 6 The Information Information derived through social media is often accused of having limited use because it is not always factual. Yet the accuracy of a social post does not diminish its potential impact upon an individual or its power to escalate emotions during an incident. Its effects are real. It is for precisely that reason that being aware of both information and misinformation is critical in order to respond in a timely and effective manner. On the 14th August the activist group Anonymous released on social media the details of the officer involved in the fatal shooting. These details were incorrect but the potential impact on this person may have been very real. Being aware of such a release in real time is important to responding to the incident. Anonymous also threatened to release information about the Chief of Police. Signal captured filtered information from multiple sources in real time on topics such as:  General Commentary  Incitement
  4. 4. © Signal Corporation August 2014 Page 4 of 6  Misinformation  Influencers Throughout the event a number of posts were made by individuals, posting heavily and becoming influencers, which were later picked up and used by the mainstream press. In the example below we can see that the video taken on scene from a vehicle was shared by an influencer and then, one hour later, by the press. By monitoring such posts agencies will have the ability to immediately respond, and to correct misinformation, if appropriate, to minimise onward transmission of potentially incorrect and exacerbating information. Influencer 1 hour Mainstream Media
  5. 5. © Signal Corporation August 2014 Page 5 of 6 ‘The What’ & ‘The Where’ Signal was able to filter and collate posts that were geo-tagged and not geo tagged ensuring the whole picture of an event was captured. As well as surfacing media attachments Signal empowers agencies to leverage all the advantages social media monitoring offers, including:  Post author  Post content  Hyperlinks  Media attachments  Poster Location  Poster profile
  6. 6. © Signal Corporation August 2014 Page 6 of 6 Conclusion There is no longer any doubt that the use of social media as the default method of communication for many people is a fact. It is also clear that events in Ferguson have shown that what once would be an incident on a community scale is now viewed, commented upon and engaged in by a global audience. This value is not lost on commentators: Effective communication between the emergency services and their communities is essential for efficient incident response, resolution and recovery and the value of understanding information contained within the flow of social media should not be underestimated. Events in Ferguson have shown that information sharing is no longer something that law enforcement agencies do to the audience but with them. Agencies must listen to this real time information flow and, through effective monitoring, open source chatter can be turned into insight. Disclaimer Signal Corporation does not warrant, guarantee or make any representations in respect of the information contained in this document. Signal Corporation accepts no responsibility or liability for the content of this document, or for the consequences of any actions taken in reliance on the information contained in this document. All references and examples within this document were found using Signal and were publically available at the time of publishing and are used for illustrative purposes only. If you are not the intended recipient of this document, you must immediately delete the copy of the document that you have received and any disclosure, copying, distributing or taking any action in reliance on the contents of this document is strictly prohibited The business case Law enforcement agencies recognise the need to be able to better understand and incorporate social media information, derive real-time intelligence and empower situational awareness. The business value  Provides the ability to respond to and anticipate criminal activity, identify locations, gather evidence, understand networks, identify persons of interest and build criminal profiles  During incidents and events, gives the ability to identify the nature and location of the event, the people and communities in need, gain increased understanding of local and global information picture. THE VALUE OF LISTENING About Signal Signal is a social media monitoring solution designed for law enforcement, public safety and emergency management. Hosted in the cloud it is available anywhere, anytime from any web enable device.