In these same areas, traditional media is intimidated by drug cartels. As a consequence, citizens of these areas are relying on their contacts on social media to keep them posted on local dangers.
“They are killing like crazy! There’s a shootout in the Lazaro Cardenas neighborhood. Steer clear of that area,” read one of the many warning tweets from Mexico’s northern city of Monterrey.
Monterrey is currently in the crossfire of a vicious gang war between the Zetas and the Gulf cartel. It is just one of many cities in Mexico where news reports have shifted from television to social media.
According to a study from Microsoft.com, prevailing words from these tweets include “bomb blasts,” “gunshots,” and “gunmen.” While about only 33% of Mexican have access to the internet, news tweets from the country get twice as many retweets as ones from the United States.
The same study has identified half a dozen Mexican Twitter accounts that are considered must-follow sources for news and updates on the drug war.