As Mexico reels from a quake, social media takes on multiple roles

With a rising death toll and worries about aftershocks, online platforms show Mexicans’ resolve in rescuing trapped survivors and rebuilding. There was also a swipe at the U.S. president.


Social media is delivering messages of resilience in the wake of yet another natural disaster.

A 7.1 magnitude earthquake has killed more than 200 in Mexico, the second quake it has faced in two weeks. Yet those helping with the relief effort appear united, even defiant, in images shared via online channels.

The Sept. 19 earthquake came on the 32nd anniversary of Mexico’s 1985 earthquake, which killed 10,000 people.

The first earthquake, just 12 days prior, registered an 8.1 on the Richter scale. Yet Mexicans appear undeterred by the string of misfortunes and have taken to social media to share images and video of their resolve to rebuild and carry on.

One user shows his countrymen helping with the relief effort:

Another user’s live Periscope video, shared through Twitter, shows survivors banding together to support a building that has sustained visible damage from the quake:

Other uplifting visuals

A video shared on Twitter shows people rescuing a dog from a pile of rubble, to cheers and applause from the crowd:

An image shared by Twitter user @KarenRoosas depicts rescue workers pulling a Mexican flag from the rubble, reminiscent of the iconic 9/11 photo of firefighters raising the American flag:

Politics are part of the conversation, too:

According to Trends24, #MexicoUnido and #FuerzaMexico were among the top trending hashtags Wednesday morning in Mexico City.

Facebook’s disaster-related initiative

Social media is playing a major role in connecting survivors and relief efforts. Less than a week ago, Facebook announced a new feature aimed at assisting after disasters.

According to Facebook’s news release from Sept. 14:

Today, we’re announcing Crisis Response, a new center on Facebook where people can find more information about recent crises and access our crisis response tools – including Safety Check, Community Help and Fundraisers to support crisis recovery – all in one place. As part of this update, we are also introducing links to articles, videos and photos posted publicly by the Facebook community, to help people be more informed about a crisis.

The feature will offer links to relevant articles, the ability to check in with family and friends, and fundraising tools to aid relief efforts—largely in response to an extraordinary spate of disasters in recent weeks.

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