Using tweets to predict real-time food shortages

The sentiments and emotions expressed in tweets on Twitter can be used in real time to assess where supply chain disruptions due to a pandemic, war or natural disaster may lead to food shortages, according to researchers at Penn State and the Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Qatar. They found that food security-related tweets that expressed anger, disgust or fear were strongly correlated with actual food insufficiency in certain U.S. states early in the COVID-19 pandemic. These findings can potentially be used to develop a low-cost early warning system for identifying where food-security interventions are most needed, according to the researchers.

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