Twitter not suited for emergency communications, Dutch say after storm

 Dutch politicians and a prominent online group said on Wednesday that Twitter was not the right place to seek information in an emergency, following incidents in which citizens were directed to the platform for the latest information during a major storm.

“We find the government’s reliance on Twitter to share important information problematic,” the office of Assemblyman Nico Droste said in emailed comments to Reuters, pointing to accessibility, accountability and reliability. sexual issues.

Twitter could not immediately be reached for comment.

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The storm killed at least one person and uprooted dozens of trees in the province of North Holland, which includes Amsterdam, in the worst storm on record for the Dutch summer.

The national emergency alert service sent “push” notifications to mobile phones warning people in North Holland to stay indoors amid gusts of more than 120 kilometers (75 mph) per hour and to follow the regional fire service’s Twitter account for updates.

Some politicians and digital rights group Bits of Freedom said the approach was inappropriate given that Twitter is a private company and the government has a website dedicated to crisis communication.

“Using Twitter is ridiculous,” said Bits of Freedom spokesman Ber Engels, citing the problem of disinformation and the difficulty of quickly accessing Twitter for people without accounts. He also noted that the company recently imposed a limit on the number of tweets anyone without a paid subscription could view.

“You might see one tweet with important information from emergency services, but Twitter prioritizes maybe 10 tweets that contain complete misinformation,” he said.

The Twitter account of the fire department in the area was not verified. Its latest tweet directs users to a live blog hosted on the City of Amsterdam website.

Twitter’s communications account did not immediately respond to questions. Emails sent to Twitter’s news email address generate automated poop emoji replies, in line with Twitter boss Elon Musk’s statement earlier this year.