Over the past two years, dozens of organizations used Facebook's Data for Good products to improve wellbeing and save lives. Their most profound applications include disaster preparedness projects, vaccination campaigns, and effective deployment of services during times of natural disaster.
How Social Ties Influence Hurricane Evacuation Behavior
Natural disasters carry enormous costs every year, both in terms of lives and materials. We use social media data to examine connections between levels of social capital and evacuation behavior. This work is the first of its kind, examining these phenomena across three major disasters in the United States—Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, and Hurricane Maria—using aggregated, de-identified data from over 1.5 million Facebook users.
Aggregate Insights for Crisis Response & Recovery
In this paper, we describe the data and methodology that power Facebook Disaster Maps. These maps utilize information about Facebook usage in areas impacted by natural hazards, producing aggregate pictures of how the population is affected by and responding to the hazard. The maps include insights into evacuations, cell network connectivity, access to electricity, and long-term displacement.
Patterns of population displacement during mega-fires in California detected using Facebook Disaster Maps
Facebook Disaster Maps (FBDM) is the first platform providing analysis-ready population change products derived from crowdsourced data targeting disaster relief practices. We evaluate the representativeness of FBDM data using the Mann-Kendall test and emerging hot and cold spots in an anomaly analysis to reveal the trend, magnitude, and agglomeration of population displacement during the Mendocino Complex and Woolsey fires in California, USA.
Using Facebook's Disaster Maps data, Direct Relief can tell the rate at which population densities have decreased and increased in certain areas throughout New South Wales, particularly in the dense coastal zone from Wollongong to Bega. Each map shows a snapshot of the relative density of Facebook users with location services enabled at 4pm local time that day.
The Kincade Fire: Population Movement and Displacement
In addition to supporting health centers, medical teams and shelters with access to healthcare supplies, Direct Relief worked with CalOES and Facebook on a daily basis throughout the fire to ensure that the state emergency management team had regular access to maps and useful interpretation of population dynamics based on anonymized and aggregated location data on Facebook's user base.
Facebook Data Has Implications for Disaster Planning
Shenyue Jia, Ph.D., and her colleagues at Chapman’s Center of Excellence in Earth Systems Modeling and Observations (CEESMO) have teamed up with Facebook’s Data for Good initiative to investigate how people behave in disasters. The project aims to use the platform’s Disaster Maps to find patterns of human behavior during crises, information that can help decision makers deploy resources.