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1 in 5 PR disasters break on Twitter, while 94% are inflamed by Twitter trolls

94% of all PR crises either start or spread on Twitter. That’s according to new research from media monitoring platform Visibrain, released in conjunction with the company’s Best Practice Guide for Media Monitoring.

Visibrain’s research was conducted in partnership with Nicolas Vanderbiest, a crisis communications specialist at the University of Leuven. His analysis examined over one hundred of the biggest PR disasters from the last year and identified that in nearly every case, Twitter had either started the crisis or helped make it significantly worse.

Throughout the year, 19% of PR crises broke on Twitter, making the platform more influential than Facebook (16%), YouTube (4%), and blogs (4%). Consumers were also significantly more likely to criticise brands on Twitter than they were on other social networking platforms, with users being 17% more likely to send a negative tweet than a negative Facebook post.

Additional findings from Visibrain’s research suggest that blogs also represent an increasingly common arena for PR crises, with one in five crises seeing consumers use blogs to criticise brands – a figure up 8% since 2014.

Commenting on these findings, Nicolas Huguenin, CEO of Visibrain said, “Social media has always been a battleground for brands, and it appears that Twitter is leading the trend.

“Despite many brands feeling that they’ve finally “got” social networking, Twitter is increasingly moving from a platform for two-way communication to an environment of trolling and provocation.

“More than ever, users are sharing the negative side of news, and using the platform exclusively to name and shame brands when they make mistakes. While there is still a lot of positivity on Twitter, brands need to be prepared for this new mentality and be ready to react urgently when something does goes wrong.

“It’s for this reason that Visibrain launched its Best Practice Guide for Media Monitoring – To help communicators understand how to effectively monitor and prepare for a Twitter crisis before it has had the opportunity to evolve into a full blown PR disaster.”

To find out more about protecting your brands’ reputation on Twitter, download the full Best Practice Guide at