Homeland Security is looking to revamp its current terror alerts system. For one, it plans to change the amount of warning levels to just two (elevated and imminent) and to use discretion when publicizing that information. No longer will there be color codes. But secondly, if they decide to relay the information to the public, they plan to use Facebook and Twitter.
According to a draft of this new plan, obtained by the Associated Press, "some terror warnings could be withheld from the public if announcing a threat" could risk an intelligence operation. But "when appropriate," the new terror alerts would be published online through Twitter and Facebook alongside other, more traditional mediums.
Facebook and Twitter have both been vital in times of disaster around the world. Recently, Twitter helped a man find his long lost daughter in less than three days, and a missing boy in a matter of three hours. Facebook has even helped a resident Neowin reporter find his family. Those stories, however, don't carry the gravitas of how social networking has been helpful in times like the the Haiti earthquake, the Chile earthquake, the Iran elections, or even the natural disaster crises Japan has been dealing with recently.
Alerts would have to go through the White House, the FBI, the National Counter-terrorism Center, and federal, state, and local governments before they are broadcast through Facebook and Twitter according to the draft. The new plan, which targets simplifying alerts and using these social media outlets, is expected to take action on April 27th.
"The plan is not yet final, as we will continue to meet and exercise with our partners to finalize a plan that meets everyone's needs," Homeland Security spokeswoman Amy Kudwa said.