Role of Social Media in Earthquake: A Systematic Review




Social Media
Systematic Review

How to Cite

Amiresmaili, M. ., Zolala, F. ., Nekoei-Moghadam, M. ., Salavatian, S. ., Chashmyazdan, M. ., Soltani, A. ., & savabi, jaber. (2021). Role of Social Media in Earthquake: A Systematic Review. Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal, 23(5).


Introduction: Social networks can perform a peculiar role in people's communication in the case of crisis and disaster. These media are interactive, digital, or mobile-based tools. Accordingly, the present study aimed to assess the role of social media in earthquakes.

Materials and Methods: In this current systematic review, a query was conducted on such databases as Embase, Web of Science, Scopus, and Cochrane for articles in English language, based on the required criteria from 2000 to 2019 regarding the role of social media in disaster. As a result, 13,924 studies were retrieved, among which 3,963 were deleted due to duplication. Finally, among 244 selected articles, 19 full-text articles were analyzed.

Result: In the present research, 19 studies were thoroughly reviewed. The findings were assigned to four main categories (identification, notification, requests, as well as storage and retrieval of information) with 12 sub-topics. Most of the main topics and subsets were as follows: medical and food needs, information about the accident, as well as medical and relief services, efforts to save lives, the amount of damage, problems and limitations, post-crisis measures, such as keeping calm, reducing anxiety, avoiding high-risk areas, asking for financial assistance, as well as using the information to provide relief and map the affected areas and evacuation centers.

Conclusion: Considering the behavior of people in different geographical locations in the earthquake crisis, it seems that the case study of how to use social media in disaster management carries profound implications for modeling and localizing the cases in related disaster management institutions of many different countries, such as Iran.


  1. Tim Y, Pan SL, Ractham P, Kaewkitipong L. Digitally enabled disaster response: the emergence of social media as boundary objects in a flooding disaster. Inform Syst J. 2017;27(2):197-232. doi: 10.1111/isj.12114.
  2. Schultz F, Utz S, Göritz A. Is the medium the message? Perceptions of and reactions to crisis communication via twitter, blogs and traditional media. Public Relat Rev. 2011;37(1):20-7. doi: 10.1016/j.pubrev.2010.12.001.
  3. Wright DK, Hinson MD. An updated look at the impact of social media on public relations practice. Public Relat J. 2009;3(2):1-27.
  4. Lindsay BR. Social media and disasters: current uses, future options, and policy considerations. Washington, D.C: Congressional Research Service; 2011.
  5. Rodríguez H, Quarantelli EL, Dynes RR, Tierney KJ. Businesses and disasters: vulnerability, impacts, and recovery. Handbook of disaster research. New York: Springer; 2007. doi: 10.1007/978-0-387-32353-4_16.
  6. Huang CM, Chan E, Hyder AA. Web 2.0 and internet social networking: a new tool for disaster management?-lessons from Taiwan. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2010;10(1):57. doi: 10.1186/1472-6947-10-57. [PubMed: 20925944].
  7. Lu Y, Yang D. Information exchange in virtual communities under extreme disaster conditions. Decis Supp Syst. 2011;50(2):529-38. doi: 10.1016/j.dss.2010.11.011.
  8. Westerman D, Spence PR, Van Der Heide B. Social media as information source: Recency of updates and credibility of information. J Comput Med Communic. 2014;19(2):171-83. doi: 10.1111/jcc4.12041.
  9. Shklovski I, Palen L, Sutton J. Finding community through information and communication technology in disaster response. Proceedings of the 2008 ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work, California, USA; 2008. P. 127-36. doi: 10.1145/1460563.1460584.
  10. Haddow GD, Haddow KS. Disaster communications in a changing media world. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann; 2013.
  11. Wentz B, Lazar J, Stein M, Gbenro O, Holandez E, Ramsey A. Danger, danger! Evaluating the accessibility of Web-based emergency alert sign-ups in the northeastern United States. Government Inform Quart. 2014;31(3):488-97. doi: 10.1016/j.giq.2014.02.010.
  12. Fothergill A, Maestas EG, Darlington JD. Race, ethnicity and disasters in the United States: a review of the literature. Disasters. 1999;23(2):156-73. doi: 10.1111/1467-7717.00111. [PubMed: 10379098].
  13. Mendoza M, Poblete B, Castillo C. Twitter under crisis: can we trust what we RT? Proceedings of the first workshop on social media analytics, New York, USA; 2010. P. 71-9. doi: 10.1145/1964858.1964869.
  14. Laituri M, Kodrich K. On line disaster response community: People as sensors of high magnitude disasters using internet GIS. Sensors. 2008;8(5):3037-55. doi: 10.3390/s8053037. [PubMed: 27879864].
  15. Cho SE, Jung K, Park HW. Social media use during Japan's 2011 earthquake: how Twitter transforms the locus of crisis communication. Med Int Aust. 2013;149(1):28-40. doi: 10.1177/1329878X1314900105.
  16. Sakurai M, Thapa D. Building resilience through effective disaster management: an information ecology perspective. Int J Inform Syst Crisis Resp Manag. 2017;9(1):11-26. doi: 10.4018/IJISCRAM.2017010102.
  17. Henríquez-Coronel P, García JG, Herrera-Tapia J. Management of natural disasters based on twitter analytics. 2017 Mexico earthquake. International Conference on Information Technology & Systems, La Libertad, Ecuador; 2019. P. 3-12. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-11890-7_1.
  18. Malasig BJ, Quinto EJ. Functions of and communication behavior on twitter after the 2015 Nepal earthquake. Malaysian J Communic. 2016;32(1):140-57. doi: 10.17576/JKMJC-2016-3201-07.
  19. Radianti J, Hiltz SR, Labaka L. An overview of public concerns during the recovery period after a major earthquake: Nepal twitter analysis. 49th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS), Koloa, HI, USA; 2016. P. 136-45. doi: 10.1109/HICSS.2016.25.
  20. Li L, Zhang Q, Tian J, Wang H. Characterizing information propagation patterns in emergencies: a case study with Yiliang Earthquake. Int J Inform Manag. 2018;38(1):34-41. doi: 10.1016/j.ijinfomgt.2017.08.008.
  21. Maceda LL, Llovido JL, Palaoag TD. Corpus analysis of earthquake related tweets through topic modelling. Int J Machine Learn Comput. 2017;7(6):194-7. doi: 10.18178/ijmlc.2017.7.6.645.
  22. Basu M, Ghosh S, Jana A, Bandyopadhyay S, Singh R. Resource mapping during a natural disaster: a case study on the 2015 Nepal earthquake. Int J Disas Risk Reduct. 2017;24:24-31. doi: 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2017.05.020.
  23. Basu M, Ghosh S, Jana A, Bandyopadhyay S, Singh R. Medical requirements during a natural disaster: a case study on WhatsApp chats among medical personnel during the 2015 Nepal earthquake. Disas Med Public Health Prep. 2017;11(6):652-5. doi: 10.1017/dmp.2017.8. [PubMed: 28606208].
  24. Nagamatsu S, Maekawa T, Ujike Y, Hashimoto S, Fuke N. The earthquake and tsunami-observations by Japanese physicians since the 11 March catastrophe. Crit Care. 2011;15(3):167. doi: 10.1186/cc10261. [PubMed: 21722338].
  25. Crooks A, Croitoru A, Stefanidis A, Radzikowski J. #Earthquake: Twitter as a distributed sensor system. Transact GIS. 2013;17(1):124-47. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9671.2012.01359.x.
  26. Di Felice P, Iessi M. A Citizen-sensing-based digital service for the analysis of on-site post-earthquake messages. ISPRS Int J Geo Inform. 2019;8(3):136. doi: 10.3390/ijgi8030136.
  27. Ahmouda A, Hochmair HH, Cvetojevic S. Analyzing the effect of earthquakes on open Street Map contribution patterns and tweeting activities. Geo Spatial Inform Sci. 2018;21(3):195-212. doi: 10.1080/10095020.2018.1498666.
  28. Caragea C, McNeese N, Jaiswal A, Traylor G, Kim HW, Mitra P, et al. Classifying text messages for the Haiti earthquake. Proceedings of the 8th international conference on information systems for crisis response and management, Lisbon, Portugal; 2011. doi:
  29. Gautam B, Basaua A. Automatic identification and ranking of emergency aids in social media macro community. Bangalore, India: Arxiv Preprint Arxiv; 2018.
  30. Gray B, Weal M, Martin D. Social media and disasters: a new conceptual framework. Proceedings of the ISCRAM 2016 Conference, Brazil; 2016.
  31. Gray B, Weal MJ, Martin D. Social media during multi-hazard disasters: Lessons from the Kaikoura Earthquake. Int J Safety Security Eng. 2017;7(3):313-23 2016. doi: 10.2495/SAFE-V7-N3-313-323.
  32. Yamada S, Utsu K, Uchida O. An analysis of tweets during the 2018 Osaka North earthquake in Japan-A brief report. 5th International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies for Disaster Management, Sendai, Japan; 2018. P. 1-5. doi: 10.1109/ICT-DM.2018.8636393.
  33. Iwanaga IS, Nguyen TM, Kawamura T, Nakagawa H, Tahara Y, Ohsuga A. Building an earthquake evacuation ontology from twitter. 2011 IEEE International Conference on Granular Computing, Kaohsiung, Taiwan; 2011. doi: 10.1109/GRC.2011.6122613.
  34. Latonero M, Shklovski I. Emergency management, Twitter, and social media evangelism. Int J Inform Syst Crisis Resp Manag. 2011;3(4):1-6. doi: 10.4018/jiscrm.2011100101.
  35. Lai CH, She B, Ye X. Unpacking the network processes and outcomes of online and offline humanitarian collaboration. Communic Res. 2019;46(1):88-116. doi: 10.1177/0093650215616862.