FBI Wants to Monitor Social Media for Threats in Real Time

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The FBI wants to monitor Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for domestic threats in real-time, setting up a possible conflict over privacy concerns, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The FBI started soliciting proposals from private contractors for a social media “early alerting tool,” last month, weeks before mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas left more than 31 people dead and dozens more injured.

The U.S. government needs “real-time access to a full range of social media exchanges” to better fight terrorist groups and domestic threats, the FBI said in its request. Additionally, the agency is looking for providers that can give law enforcement agents a social media user’s ID number, IP address, and telephone numbers, if necessary.

The deadline for bids is Aug. 27.  

The report comes a month after the FTC announced a record-breaking $5 billion settlement with Facebook over privacy violations. The FTC was investigating allegations Facebook inappropriately shared information belonging to 87 million users with the now-defunct British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.

The services sought by the FBI would violate Facebook and Twitter’s ban against the use of its data for surveillance purposes.

A Twitter spokeswoman cited the company’s policy prohibiting the use of its data “by any entity for surveillance purposes, or in any other way that would be inconsistent with our users’ reasonable expectations of privacy. Period.”

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