The International Humanitarian Studies Association is a network engaged with the study of humanitarian crises caused by natural disaster, conflict or political instability.

#Porteouverte, Hashtagged Solidarity, and the November 2015 Paris Terror Attacks

Submitted by Ioanna Tantanasi
For panel Humanitarianism and Media

Twitter has emerged as a key platform for citizens during terrorist attacks, not only as a source of information but also as an outlet for providing support for victims. Citizen responses to such incidents on the microblogging site often revolve around hashtags used to express solidarity with those directly affected. This paper explores the role public figures and key emergency management agencies played in the promotion of the hashtag on Twitter within the first 48 hours of the terror attacks by ISIS militants in Paris on 13 November 2015, which resulted in 130 fatalities and left several hundred wounded. The saturation of mobile phone networks left many citizens stranded and unable to tell their families and loved ones that they were safe. It was in this context citizens used #PorteOuverte to find shelter or provide it for others. This study explores the efficacy of this initiative by presenting a review of the literature on social media, humanitarian communication, and disaster response, and finally and overview of the role of Twitter during the Paris attacks . Results indicate that the mainstream media and public figures played a key role in raising public awareness of #PorteOuverte and helped connect people affected by the terror attacks.