As tens of millions of people turn to Twitter rival Meta’s Threads, police and emergency response agencies across Canada are considering adopting new text-based apps.
Over the years, Twitter has been the go-to source for real-time information from public authorities, especially on situations that affect safety, for the media and the general public.
Threads launched during a tumultuous time following the acquisition of Twitter by billionaire Elon Musk. His leadership has forced some users to seek alternative platforms.
Some Canadian public institutions are already using Threads, but many others are still considering whether to open accounts, he said.
Early adopters include police in Calgary and Edmonton.
Edmonton Police Department spokeswoman Carolyn Mullan said the unit “has a Threads account and is currently developing a strategy for its continued use,” adding that the police Twitter account “will remain active.” It will continue,” he added.
The RCMP also said it was open to using Threads, but for now it would stick to existing platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, the Meta-owned product that built Threads.
RCMP spokeswoman Marie-Yves Breton said, “As the presence and reach of traditional media diminishes, social media has become a very useful tool in that regard.”
“But as these tools evolve and the rules governing their use change, so should our communication strategies.”
Firefighters and law enforcement officials in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal said they are evaluating Threads but do not yet have accounts.
Ahmed Al-Rawi, a communications expert at Simon Fraser University, sees the challenge of relying too heavily on social media for public institutions publishing important and time-sensitive information, especially given the rapid pace of policy changes on some platforms. said to be facing
On July 2, British Columbia’s Department of Transport and Infrastructure violated new rules capping tweets by posting important route and travel information to its Twitter account during the province’s wildfire season. was found to be blocked.
“DriveBC and its subaccounts on Twitter have exceeded the temporarily imposed post rate limit,” the ministry tweeted.
Twitter has finally restored DriveBC’s ability to post public service updates.
The New York City Transit Authority (MTA) suspended service updates in April after Twitter introduced limits on tweets.
The MTA eventually reverted to providing service updates after Twitter reversed its policy of restricting posts by governments and public bodies.
“Twitter is certainly unreliable,” Al-Rawi said.
He added that social media is still a useful tool for reaching specific demographics, but broader communication strategies are still needed to reach specific groups, especially older people.
“I still recognize the importance of appearing on traditional TV, radio, newspapers and online,” he said.
This report by the Canadian Press Agency was first published on July 14, 2023.