For Bavarian town Munich, and also for the whole country Germany, it was a situation of unknown intensity. Maybe comparable to the terror at the 1972 Olympics.
A round-up of the events from the morning after: Friday, July 22, 2016. An 18-year-old German-Iranian shot nine people at a Munich shopping centre (named #OEZ) near the Olympic park of the city. After first reports of three shooters, Munich police investigated that most likely only one suspect was involved and later identified after killing himself at the crime scene.
Not only on scene Munich police seemed to work very successfull and thoughtful. They also helped people and media via social media platforms to deal witht the situation.
Posting recent and constant updates on their twitter channel – in various languages. Reporting about the circumstances.
Just a few minutes after first reports of a shooting at the shopping center were broadcast, social media in general joined in. People tweeted about the events – even a video of the suspect was posted and then broadcast on local and international television.
On the other hand the negative side of those fast spreading news are false information among them.
A Bavarian TV channel posted a photo of a supposed victim that later appeared to be from a shooting in South Africa from two years earlier. “We should not have tweeted the fake photo. Sorry,” the team later said.
Fake and wrong tweets and posts that maybe even influence the work of the Munich police. They later critisized the other side of social media.
Other aspects show how social media can serve as a useful tool in such situations. People of Munich posted, under the hashtag #offenetüren (open doors), private sleeping opportunities for stranded people whose trains or busses did not bring them home.
And also Facebook, for the first time in Germany, started its “Safety Check” tool that helps people telling friends and family where they are and if they are safe.
As much as social media is a very fast and helpful platform to connect people and spread information, it is also a challenge for officials as well as journalists and media.