The US to use Social Media for issuing Terror Threat Notifications

With effect from April 27, 2011, the US government plans to go ahead with a new Terror Threat Notifications system. It will replace the five color-coded terror alerts having two levels of warnings — elevated and imminent. The warning will be relayed to the public only under certain circumstances for limited periods using Facebook and Twitter.

The US to use Social Media for issuing Terror Threat Notifications

Facebook and Twitter

The current system with five stages alarming system has mostly faded into the background. They came into picture following the attacks of Sept’11, 2001. This kind of system was also responsible for many a time in spreading unnecessary fear among the public. They sometimes became an obstruction for intelligence or law enforcement services, to take any action in such scenarios.

The Obama administration is replacing the five-color terror-alert reports. This came into the picture after citing a draft proposal from the Homeland Security Department. It describes the sequence of notifying members of Congress. Next, it will inform the counter-terrorism officials in states and cities and then governors and mayors and, ultimately, the public.

According to Reports from Yahoo News on Terror Threat Notifications

A 19-page document, marked “for official use only” and dated April 1, describes the step-by-step process that would occur behind the scenes when the government believes terrorists might be threatening Americans. The system describes the sequence of notifying members of Congress, then counterterrorism officials in states and cities, then governors and mayors and, ultimately, the public.

It even specifies details about how many minutes U.S. officials can wait before organizing urgent conference calls to discuss pending threats. It places the Homeland Security secretary, currently Janet Napolitano, in charge of the National Terrorism Advisory System.

The new terror alerts would also be published online using Facebook and Twitter “when appropriate,” the plan said, but only after federal, state and local leaders have been notified.

According to the draft plan, an “elevated” alert would warn of a credible threat against the U.S. It is not likely to specify timing or targets. Instead, it could reveal terrorist trends. Intelligence officials believe it can help to prevent an attack. That alert would expire after no more than 30 days but can extend.

An “imminent” alert would warn about a credible, specific and impending terrorist threat against the U.S. That warning would expire after no more than seven days but could be extended.

So, make sure you watch your Facebook and Twitter accounts even more closely, from now on! What do you think of the new Terror Threat Notifications?