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People's perception of earthquake alerts: To continue subscribing or not?

A paper on New Zealand’s public perception of the Android Earthquake Alert (AEA) system has been published in the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. The paper led by Dr Marion Tan focuses on the topic of ‘continuance intention’ – people’s intention to continue to subscribe to the service.

There is no official earthquake early warning system to warn the public of incoming earthquakes in New Zealand. However, several technological products, such as the AEA, already exist that can provide EEW services. The AEA is a feature in most Android phones, automatically incorporated on compatible devices. However, users can deactivate the alert system if they do not wish to receive earthquake alerts.

We studied factors that would contribute to the intention. Given the unique attributes of the AEA system, this research employed an extended version of the Expectation Confirmation Model (ECM) to understand continuance intention.

We tested the model using structural equational modelling using data gathered from online surveys after two separate earthquake events. Android Earthquake Alerts were sent out to the public on 12 Oct 2021 (n= 524) and 22 Oct 2021 (n=671).

What did we find out?

  • The factor ‘Satisfaction’ did not come out as significant with one of the datasets. This result raises the question of the applicability of satisfaction as a variable in the model for users’ intentions to continue subscribing to EEW systems.

  • The factor ‘Perceived usefulness’ is the strongest predictor for continuance intention, highlighting that users must be able to perceive the benefits of EEW to increase their chances of continued subscription to the service.

  • The factor ‘perceived trust’ is a significant factor for continuance intention. This highlights the importance of prioritising trust-building efforts for EEW

Regarding trust, the study also raised concerns about potential confusion from multiple sources and opportunities to address responsibility and liability for organisations designing and implementing public EEW systems. Over 60% of respondents for each data set did not know that Google was responsible for the AEA system.

However, the study showed that continuance intention was higher when respondents correctly recognised the source of the alert (Google) compared to when perceiving it to come from GeoNet/GNS Science or NEMA. Understanding the system and its source is important for trust-building when implementing early warning systems.

Further details can be found in the published article.



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