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Social media used extensively in aftermath of Bastille Day attack

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Social media used extensively in aftermath of Bastille Day attack

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Social media again came to the fore in the aftermath of the Bastille Day attack.

Because the official government warning and information app for mobile phones set up for events like this failed to work the authorities had to issue messages through Twitter and Facebook.

The police quickly sent out advisories to people to stay away from Nice city centre. They were also told not to spread rumours, or to send out or resend pictures of the dead and injured.

As tweets about the attack flooded out, and the scale of the death toll started to become apparent,
the police also urged people to report, via an official website, anyone who used the internet to post, share or to like graphic images on social media.

To help those displaced by the attack assistance and shelter was offered with the hashtag PortesOuvertes – open doors – first used during last November’s attacks in Paris.

The City of Nice was one of the first to utilise the Portes Ouvertes hashtag for those needing somewhere to stay after the attack or locals offering accommodation.

Similarly, social media was used for appeals for blood donors, initially in Nice and when that facility was overwhelmed at centres elsewhere in France.

Tweets also informed survivors that taxi drivers were not charging to take people away from the area of the attack.

The power of social media also came into use for finding out if people were OK, and reuniting those separated in the chaos of the attack.

The Facebook Safety Check feature – originally launched for natural disasters like earthquakes – helped to reassure many.

There were reports of parents throwing children out of the way of the truck during the attack to save them.

One story ended happily, with an eight-month-old baby lost by his mother in the melee reunited with the family after an appeal was posted on Facebook and shared more than 22,000 times.

The baby in his pram had been found by locals and taken into their home.

Every story can be told in many ways: see the perspectives from Euronews journalists in our other language teams.

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