The research carried out by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), The Engine Room and Block Party, says messaging apps have become so widespread that they deserve to be considered 'strategically', for use in humanitarian operations. The results of the research have been released in the report 'Humanitarian Futures for Messaging Apps'.
It's estimated that more than 2.5 billion people around the world use messaging apps. That figure is expected to rise to 3.6 billion – half the world's population - by 2018. In emergencies, such as natural disasters or armed conflicts, people are increasingly relying on these platforms to keep in touch with their loved ones or to remain informed about the situation.
"Messaging apps help humanitarian organizations gather information to better understand needs from hard-to-reach areas where it is often difficult to conduct face-to-face meetings," said the ICRC's director of communication and information management Charlotte Lindsey-Curtet. "Humanitarian organizations are currently experimenting with messaging apps for two main purposes: to communicate with people affected by crisis or conflict, and to coordinate tasks and actions internally."
However, messaging apps are also considered to raise risks in terms of security, data protection, and privacy.
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Article Credits: Philippe Stoll, ICRC Geneva
The ICIRC has also released a video on the topic: