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US government could use social media to issue terror alerts

A leaked US government document shows plans to announce new terrorist warnings to the public via Facebook and Twitter.

As reported by Associated Press, the U.S. government plans to introduce a new system to replace the five color-coded terror alerts.

According to a draft Homeland Security Department plan, the new system will have two levels of warnings - elevated and imminent - that will be relayed to the public only under certain circumstances for limited periods of time, sometimes using Facebook and Twitter.

Some terror warnings could be withheld from the public entirely if announcing a threat would risk exposing an intelligence operation or an ongoing investigation.

The new terror alerts would also be published online using Facebook and Twitter "when appropriate," the plan said, but only after federal, state and local government leaders have already been notified. The new system is expected to be in place by April 27.

A Homeland Security spokeswoman said: "The plan is not yet final, as we will continue to meet and exercise with our partners to finalize a plan that meets everyone's needs."