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Communications of the ACM

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Retweeting the Fukushima Nuclear Radiation Disaster

retweet, illustration

Credit: Anne Hornyak

Micro-blogging lets the public stay involved in risk communication following disasters. Here, we explore the patterns of risk communication on Twitter regarding the nuclear radiation threat in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima earthquake and tsunami, focusing on patterns of retweets of alarm and reassurance and providing insight into micro-blogging behavior and its consequences.

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Key Insights


Communication is important in emergency response.5,10,11,15,16,18 In the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima earthquake and tsunami, Twitter was an important social medium for distributing information to millions of people worldwide, including in Japan, with the Japanese government sharing emergency information, relief organizations sharing shelter information, and ordinary citizens posting news of their local situations.25


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