It seems to be happening more and more.
A customer or local reporter will receive a tip that wireless service is out in a certain area, and quickly visit a website such as downdetector.com, to confirm what is happening and where. The problem is that sites like downdetector.com rely on limited crowd-sourced data drawn from sample social posts, which quite often are inaccurate. That can lead to media stories that are factually incorrect (with editors angry that they have to run a correction or retraction) as well as consumer confusion.
How can a site like downdetector.com be wrong? A lot of factors can contribute to a false report on a third-party website…a faulty device, network traffic that slows but doesn’t inhibit connections, commercial RF blockers, human error and more. These types of sites do not evaluate and confirm the crowd-sourced data that they receive, they simply aggregate it and report it. It’s not tough to imagine how errors can make their way into that process.
So, what should you – and your local reporters – do to ensure that you know exactly how wireless networks are performing in your area? Follow your wireless company, or their local spokesperson, on Twitter or other social networks; when a significant network issue pops up, they typically alert customers via their news feeds. If you do experience an issue, visit your wireless company’s website to see if they have posted any information. What you should NOT do is trust a third-party, crowd-sourced website to have accurate information about any company other than their own.
Verizon’s customer service and public relations teams are available 24/7 to respond to network performance inquiries and confirm/provide accurate information for media and consumers who are looking to verify network performance information via phone, email or social platforms. Follow @verizonnews on Twitter.
Karen Schulz manages public relations for Verizon Wireless in the Carolinas and Tennessee. Karen writes about 4G LTE’s impact throughout the region, and Verizon’s community efforts. She has extensive experience in the areas of public relations, marketing and community relations and has worked with numerous nonprofit and community development organizations in the Carolinas.