How Social Media Helped in the Aftermath of the Paris Attacks

On Friday evening, Paris was attacked by people we now know to have been ISIS terrorists.  As of this writing, the attacks have claimed 129 lives.  With another 352 wounded, many of them seriously, that number could rise.  The world was outraged and France has already begun bombarding ISIS targets.

A less reported story is how newer technologies lent a hand in the immediate aftermath of the attacks.  Social media, communications and share technology all came together to do what they could to help.

AirBnB contacted their hosts in Paris, requesting that they take in people who became stranded there.  Facebook’s Safety Check, which was just enabled for use in human disasters (versus natural disasters) let people communicate to their friends that they they were safe.  Twitter let people use the hashtag #PorteOuverte (French for “open doors”) to find places to stay.  Uber turned off surge pricing in Paris for the weekend.  AT&T, Google, Skype, Sprint and Verizon let people call Paris for free.

None of these technologies is new and it’s not the first time most of them have helped during a disaster, but it does show how many of the technologies we take for granted as an everyday part of our lives can be used to help people in times of need.  It’s terrible that these attacks happened, but it’s good to know that there are technology companies out there that want to help.

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