IOM Ukraine Response 2022

Nowcasting daily population displacement in Ukraine through social media advertising data

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This study uses real-time social media data to assess population displacement in response to the war Ukraine. It gives critical insights into the changing demographics and locations of displaced populations by utilizing Facebook marketing data and pre-conflict population estimates. However, it also emphasized the difficulties and ethical concerns associated with exploiting digital trace data for humanitarian objectives, underlining the importance of proper data handling and openness in disaster response.


The novel approach of this study, which uses social media data to predict population displacement in real time, covers a major information gap in humanitarian response during emergencies. Following the war in Ukraine, it successfully tracked internal displacement patterns within Ukraine. While providing useful information, it also highlights the challenges and biases associated with employing digital trace data for such purposes. Ethical concerns, data privacy, and the representativeness of digital platform users all pose difficulties. Despite these obstacles, the study shows the promise of digital demography in disaster response, underlining the importance of ethical data handling and continuing improvement in data collection methods for future humanitarian operations.

Last modified
7 September 2023