Social Media Saved Lives, Brought People Closer During Paris Attacks
NEWS ANALYSIS: When Paris was attacked by Islamic State Terrorists, social media saved lives and offered refuge to those in danger. But it also proved to be a mixed blessing in several ways.Shortly after the attack on the Bataclan theater in Paris began on Nov. 14, Benjamin Cazenoves found himself in the floor of the concert hall, wounded. He sent a Facebook message that he was hurt bad, and that the terrorists were still killing people. His friends saw the message and immediately began sending Tweets to let law enforcement and anyone else who would listen know what was happening. Then he described the carnage, the dead people, and that the terrorists were killing people one by one, he posted on Facebook. Shortly after that, police stormed the concert hall to rescue the people trapped inside. According to a report by CBS News the reports from Cazenoves and others who were trapped were instrumental in convincing the police to attempt the risky rescue instead of trying to negotiate for their surrender. There is no question that the fact that people were able to communicate during the attack enabled law enforcement to get a better picture of what was going on than they would have had otherwise, and in this case, there are people alive today who would not have been, had the rescue been delayed.
There were other cases. Parisians were offering refuge in their apartments near the site of the attack so that people would have some place to go. Users of social media, including some news media such as the French Newspaper Le Monde, provided video of the attack in progress, and more video showing avenues of escape.