Social Media and Its Dual Use in Biopreparedness: Communication and Visualization Tools in an Animal Bioterrorism Incident
Journal article, 2013

This article focuses on social media and interactive challenges for emergency organizations during a bioterrorism or agroterrorism incident, and it outlines the dual-use dilemma of social media. Attackers or terrorists can use social media as their modus of operandi, and defenders, including emergency organizations in law enforcement and public and animal health, can use it for peaceful purposes. To get a better understanding of the uses of social media in these situations, a workshop was arranged in Stockholm, Sweden, to raise awareness about social media and animal bioterrorism threats. Fifty-six experts and crisis communicators from international and national organizations participated. As a result of the workshop, it was concluded that emergency organizations can collect valuable information and monitor social media before, during, and after an outbreak. In order to make use of interactive communication to obtain collective intelligence from the public, emergency organizations must adapt to social networking technologies, requiring multidisciplinary knowledge in the fields of information, communication, IT, and biopreparedness. Social network messaging during a disease outbreak can be visualized in stream graphs and networks showing clusters of Twitter and Facebook users. The visualization of social media can be an important preparedness tool in the response to bioterrorism and agroterrorism.



Social Media



Elisabeth Sjöberg

Swedish National Veterinary Institute

Gary C. Barker

Institute of Food Research

Jonas Landgren

Chalmers, Applied Information Technology (Chalmers), Division of Informatics (Chalmers)

Isaac Griberg

International Committee of the Red Cross

Jeffrey E. Skiby

Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

Anna Tubbin

Swedish Board of Agriculture

Anne von Stapelmohr

Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency

Malin Härenstam

Swedish National Veterinary Institute

Mikael Jansson

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)

Rickard Knutsson

Swedish National Veterinary Institute

Biosecurity and Bioterrorism

1538-7135 (ISSN)

Vol. 11 Supplement 1 S264-S275

Areas of Advance

Information and Communication Technology

Subject Categories

Biological Sciences

Interaction Technologies



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