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Twitter Sets Up New Emergency Text Message Feature

Users Can Receive Text Messages, Push Notificaitons
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Twitter logo (Photo credit should read KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/Getty Images)

Twitter logo (Photo credit should read KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Twitter announced Wednesday that it is launching a new feature to let U.S. users receive emergency notices as text messages.

Twitter Alerts are available from the American Red Cross, the Centers for Disease Control, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other federal and local groups. If users sign up to receive Twitter alerts from one of these groups, they will get a text message notification whenever the group sends a tweet marked as an alert.

Users of Twitter for iPhone or Android will also receive push notifications. Within Twitter, alerts will appear differently on users’ home timelines from other tweets, with an orange bell icon to differentiate them.

Anyone who wishes to subscribe to the notifications can go directly to an account’s setup page at twitter.com/[username]/alerts (for example, http://twitter.com/FEMA/alerts.) On the Web users, can also find out whether an organization is part of the alert program by visiting its profile.

The move follows a feature called “lifeline,” which Twitter launched in Japan last year. It underscores the services’ growing role in delivering fast information in an emergency.

Several organizations in the U.S., Japan and Korea can now send alerts, and the service will be expanded to include more public institutions and non-governmental organizations worldwide.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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