Sharing Missing Persons Appeals on Social Media: Assessing Community Engagement on Facebook and Twitter

Simona Ciobotaru, Carl Adams, Craig John Robert Collie, Karen Shalev Greene

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Social media platforms are sometimes used for sharing missing persons appeals and disseminating information about missing person cases, which ensures wide distribution. Previous research regarding the effectiveness of social media based publicity has mainly focused on the use of Twitter [24]. However, missing person appeals are also frequently distributed on Facebook. In this paper, we explored how people engage with missing persons appeals on Facebook and Twitter. We manually web scraped 413 missing person appeals distributed on Twitter and Facebook. Variables collected were missing persons' age, gender, ethnicity, region as well as engagement metrics (e.g., retweets, shares). Overall, the public shared more appeals when they were distributed on Twitter than on Facebook. We found no effect of missing persons' ethnicity on engagement levels on both platforms. These results are discussed in relation to shareworthiness and social media strategies for agencies releasing appeals on social media.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSIGMIS-CPR '22: Proceedings of the Conference on Computers and People Research
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9781450392310
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2023
EventSIGMIS-CPR 2022 - Atlanta, United States
Duration: 2 Jun 20224 Jun 2022


ConferenceSIGMIS-CPR 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • ACM proceedings
  • missing
  • social media
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • engagement
  • emergency services

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