In September, Twitter launched Twitter Alerts in the US, Japan and South Korea, a feature that gives users important and accurate information from credible organizations during emergencies, natural disasters, or moments when other communications services aren’t accessible.
Today, it announced that Twitter Alerts has landed in the UK and Ireland. As of now, already 57 accounts have signed up for Twitter Alerts, including the UK’s 47 police forces, the London Fire Brigade, and the Mayor of London’s office.
From today, once these organizations mark any of their tweets as alerts, they will be highlighted with an orange bell, becoming more visible to their followers. Here’s an example from the Senate Sergeant at Arms, an organization in charge of security at the U.S. Senate.
— SenateSergeantAtArms (@SenateSAA) October 3, 2013
In Twitter’s blog post, Commander David Martin, who is in charge of emergency planning for the Metropolitan Police Service, notes that getting accurate information to the public speedily in something like a terrorist attack could really “make a life-saving difference.”
“Using social networking sites, including Twitter, gives us additional ways to talk directly to the public. Twitter Alerts means that our messages will stand out when it most matters,” he says.
Twitter users also get an option to sign up for Twitter Alerts. First you have to sign up to receive Twitter Alerts from a given account (so that you only receive relevant information). Once you do, you will receive a notification directly to your phone whenever that account marks a tweet as an alert.
Twitter Alerts builds on the company’s launch of a service called Lifeline just over a year ago, a feature that helps Japanese users follow local accounts that are important in crises.
As many organizations already use Twitter to disseminate information during crises, Twitter Alerts is a feature that can only help boost the service’s usage even more — a metric that will definitely be pertinent for investors considering its newly-minted status as a public company, after it listed on the New York Stock Exchange recently.
Headline image via Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images