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Perceptions and Use of Warning Apps – Did Recent Crises Lead to Changes in Germany?

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Warning and emergency apps are an integral part of crisis informatics and particularly relevant in countries that currently do not have cell broadcast, such as Germany. Previous studies have shown that such apps are regarded as relevant, but only around 16% of German citizens used them in 2017 and 2019. With the COVID-19 pandemic and a devastating flash flood, Germany has recently experienced severe crisis-related losses. By comparing data from representative surveys from 2017, 2019 and 2021, this study investigates whether these events have changed the perceptions of warning apps and their usage patterns in Germany. The study shows that while multi-hazard emergency and warning apps have been easily surpassed in usage by COVID-19 contact tracing apps, the use of warning apps has also increased and the pandemic has added new desired features. While these have been little-used during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially non-users see smartphone messengers app channels as possible alternatives to warning apps. In addition, regional warning apps appear promising, possibly because they make choosing a warning app easier when there are several available on the market.


Haunschild, Jasmin; Kaufhold, Marc-André; Reuter, Christian (2022): Perceptions and Use of Warning Apps – Did Recent Crises Lead to Changes in Germany?. Mensch und Computer 2022 - Tagungsband. DOI: 10.1145/3543758.3543770. New York: ACM. pp. 25-40. MCI-SE01: Privacy, Security, and Safety. Darmstadt. 4.-7. September 2022