Twitter a go-to info source amid Hawaii missile warning debacle

A faulty emergency alert for an incoming strike sent island residents and visitors seeking cover and flocking to social media for updates and explanations—and for venting about the screw-up.

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Hawaii, it turns out, has an emergency alert system for incoming ballistic missiles. That system was triggered Saturday morning, pushing notifications to cellphones, as well as broadcast channels, and sending those on the islands scurrying for a safe haven—and to Twitter for updates.

PRI reported:

Authorities faced anger and demands for answers Sunday after a false alarm about an incoming ballistic missile caused panic in Hawaii, already on edge over fears of a North Korean attack.

The notification was sent out just after 8 a.m. on Saturday, lighting up phones with a disturbing alert urging people to “seek immediate shelter.”

Emergency management officials later admitted “the wrong button was pushed” during a shift change.

The nightmare for islanders—believing they faced annihilation amid escalated tensions between the United States and North Korea—persisted until a correction was issued.

PRI continued:

[…] it took nearly 40 minutes for a corrected message to be issued — with Hawaii’s governor saying there was no automatic way to cancel the false alarm, meaning it had to be done manually.

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