Aim: The aim of this article is to analyse the activity of individual users, institutions and organisations in social media in the context of the fire in the Notre Dame Cathedral. The main threats of using this type of tools in crisis communication are presented, with particular emphasis on the propagation of information and disinformation.

Introduction: The development of social media (platforms) in the global Internet means that they have become a tool commonly used by various types of private organisations, public administration and services. Using this medium gives great opportunities in the process of providing current information, efficient communication with the local community, building positive relations and creating a positive image of the organisation. Social media are also used by the government administration and emergency services of many countries during each of the four phases of crisis management (mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery). Information and communication technologies together with social media play an important role in contemporary people’s lives. They constitute an important part of everyday reality and are intrinsically related to it. The fire of the Notre Dame Cathedral in 2019 was widely commented on social media. The existing traditional methods of communication, such as press, television or radio, have significant limitations consisting in the inability to interact with the media users. Only the person who created the information could be the broadcaster. The internet, and social media in particular, has changed dramatically this state of affairs, giving recipients the opportunity to interact with people/institutions generating content.

Methodology: The method applied in the article is that of literature review in the area of Web 1.0, Web 2.0, Web 3.0 development as well as the course of the fire of the Notre Dame Cathedral. Statistical analysis was performed using Google Trends. The paper indicates the main sources of opportunities and threats to users' activity in social media, with particular emphasis on the aspects related to the efficient operation of emergency services.

Conclusions: The role of social media in crisis situations has not yet been established. It is evolving and it can be expected that with time it will be used to an increasing extent also in cases such as fires and other threats to cultural goods. The authors recommend further research on the behaviour of users of social networking sites, groups and the entire portal.

Keywords: social media, misinformation, fake news, Notre Dame fire, citizen journalism

Type of article: case study