20 May 2021

DMP knowledge base - a consolidated understanding of social media and crowdsourcing in disaster management processes

LINKS “Strengthening links between technologies and society for European disaster resilience” is a comprehensive study on disaster governance in Europe. In recent years, social media and crowdsourcing (SMCS) have been integrated into crisis management for improved information gathering and collaboration across European communities.

In a changing technological landscape to address disasters, and with the increasing diversity of stakeholders in disaster risk management, this deliverable aims to provide a state-of-the-art of the existing academic literature linking SMCS with disaster management processes (DMP). This is to improve institutional resilience; and map existing European formal governance processes in relation to SMCS and disasters across three levels of government: Global, European and national. The key findings from the review in this deliverable are as follows:

  • SMCS studies are heavily case-study oriented and point to the need for more comparative and interdisciplinary analysis of SMCS in DMP. Further, there is an overwhelming majority of studies focusing primarily on disaster response and preparedness pointing to the need to focus on overall disaster risk management;
  • Public authorities have a passive and ad-hoc approach to using SMCS in DMP. Increased focus on the needed support (e.g. learning, training and resources) is crucial for a more active and strategic engagement with SMCS technologies for improved DMP;
  • Citizens participate both actively and passively in DMP through SMCS and are not bound to the disaster-affected area. Nevertheless, we know little about the publics that engage in DMP through SMCS. We contribute with a preliminary typology of SMCS publics in DMP which will be further developed during the course of the project;
  • Misinformation, disinformation and ethical concerns of privacy are fundamental barriers to authorities for the use of SMCS in DMP. These challenges are confirmed during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic;
  • At a policy level, while we notice efforts to strengthening formal institutions governing and guiding digital platforms globally and at the EU level, there are minimal efforts at the national and sub-national levels in this regard.


DMP knowledge base - a consolidated understanding of social media and crowdsourcing in disaster management processes [External link]



This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research & Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No. 883490