On a Friday evening in the run up to Christmas 2017, panic spread through one of London’s busiest shopping areas, Oxford Street, as rumours of a terror alert began circling on social media.
Amongst the chaos that ensued, singer Olly Murs became an unlikely source of public safety information, telling his 7 million Twitter followers that gunshots had been heard in department store Selfridges.
Some time later Police confirmed the incident to be false, having reportedly originated from an altercation between two men at a nearby tube station. However, by this time it was too late. Scenes of mass-hysteria were described as armed officers evacuated the area, with screaming crowds ‘running for their lives’ resulting in a stampede which injured several people.
This case quite clearly highlights the importance of controlling the misinformation that can circulate in these situations, especially on social media.
What are mobile alert systems?
One possible way to do this is using mobile alert systems, which in the event of a real emergency can disseminate safety information quickly to a mass audience straight to