The Diffusion of Crisis-Related Communication on Social Media: An Empirical Analysis of Facebook Reactions

Date
2018-01-03
Authors
Ross, Björn
Potthoff, Tobias
Majchrzak, Tim A.
Chakraborty, Narayan Ranjan
Ben Lazreg, Mehdi
Stieglitz, Stefan
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During a crisis, authorities need to effectively disseminate information. We address the problem of deciding how crisis-related information should be published on Facebook to reach as many people as possible. We examine three recent terrorist attacks in Berlin, London and Stockholm. Our specific focus lies with official Facebook pages by municipalities and emergency service agencies. We collected posts about the events, along with the number of shares, likes and emotional reactions to them. In a regression analysis, several variables were examined that capture decisions on which information to publish and how. Posts containing condolences were found to result in three times as many emotional reactions as other posts, all other variables held constant. Images and videos positively affected the number of reactions by factors of 2.2 and 3.9, respectively, while text length negatively affected the number of shares. These results will help in the development of effective guidelines.
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Social Media and Government, crisis communication, social media, Facebook, information diffusion, emergency
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10 pages
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Proceedings of the 51st Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences
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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
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