Investigating Personally Identifiable Information Posted on Twitter Before and After Disasters

  • Pezhman SheinidashtegolEmail author
  • Aibek Musaev
  • Travis Atkison
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11517)


Through social media, users may consciously reveal information about their personality; however, they could also unintentionally disclose private information related to the locations of where they live/work, car license plates, signatures or even their identification documents. Any disclosed information can endanger an individual’s privacy, possibly resulting in burglaries or identity theft. To the best of our knowledge, this paper is the first to claim and demonstrate that people may reveal information when they are vulnerable and actively seek help; evidently, in the event of a natural disaster, people change their behavior and become more inclined to share their personal information. To examine this phenomenon, we investigate two hurricane events (Harvey and Maria) and one earthquake (Mexico City) using datasets obtained from Twitter. Our findings show a significant change in people’s behavioral pattern in the disaster areas, regarding tweeting images that contain Personally Identifiable Information (PII), before and after a disaster event.


Social media Privacy Disasters Information disclosure Hurricane Earthquake 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pezhman Sheinidashtegol
    • 1
    Email author
  • Aibek Musaev
    • 1
  • Travis Atkison
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA

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