Date of Award:

8-2018

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Computer Science

Advisor/Chair:

Amanda Hughes

Co-Advisor/Chair:

Vladimir Kulyukin

Third Advisor:

Xiaojun Qi

Abstract

This thesis reports on the use of verified Twitter accounts during crisis events. Twitter is a social media platform that allows users to broadcast and exchange public text messages and it can be used as a communication tool during crisis events. Verified Twitter accounts are those accounts that Twitter has investigated and found to be genuinely maintained by the claimed owner. Celebrities, public officials, and other well-known persons or companies often seek this account status. The owners of these accounts are likely to provide more accurate or relevant information during a crisis event because they represent a brand, whether themselves or an organization.

To study the role verified Twitter accounts play in a crisis event, information was collected from Twitter’s API (Application Programming Interface) from February 28, 2018 through March 3, 2018 during a powerful storm on the East Coast of the United States called a Nor’easter. Through data collection and analysis, this thesis describe show verified Twitter accounts communicated during a crisis event. Three exploratory questions were proposed to better understand the use of verified Twitter accounts: Who are the verified Twitter users that tweet about a crisis event? What types of information do verified Twitter users tweet about a crisis event? When do verified Twitter users tweet about a crisis event? Results show that verified Twitter accounts create more original messages, share more informative messages, and spread less spam than their non-verified counterparts.

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