social media monitoring

Social media monitoring for FBI, SEC

Millions of people daily use social media, which can give law enforcement agencies insights on various threats ranging from terrorist activity to foreign intelligence. The challenge is accessing and analyzing the massive amount of data in an effective, efficient and appropriate way. 

The FBI issued a request for proposals for a subscription-based social media alerting tool that will filter and evaluate big data from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms while ensuring privacy and civil liberties compliance requirements are met. It wants a web-based system – also accessible through a mobile app – that can identify of possible threats and assist with current missions in near real time through alerting, analysis, and geolocation services. 

The alerting system should provide email notifications on any updates relevant to missions. Additionally, it should be able to filter content by subjects, identifiers, geographic location, keywords, and photographic tags to allow for easy and fast access to information. 

The analysis function should examine not only social networks but also user IDs, emails, IP addresses and telephone numbers. Gathered from across various social media platforms, this information should obtain full profiles for persons of interest and any affiliated groups. Furthermore, link analysis should visualize any connections between entities of interest and highlight the key connections. 

Geolocation services should provide real-time information on a user's location. The system should be able to expand beyond state or county lines and allow for customization. Geolocation services should also filters data based on a given time frame to provide insight about a significant event. 

The Securities and Exchange Commission also issued a sources sought notice for a commercial, off-the-shelf social media monitoring subscription to help it track emerging risk areas and activities of market participants to identify potential securities law violations.

Less interested in Twitter than the FBI, the SEC wants the ability to monitor Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Reddit as well as public forums, blogs and message boards. It also requests sentiment analysis capabilities and the ability to identify bot accounts and fake user accounts. Data should be available through an application programming interface as well as through a browser.

Customs and Border Protection already has a social media monitoring system in place, according to a privacy impact statement released in March. According to the CBP notice, the social media monitoring is designed to provide situational awareness for ongoing events, such as an active shooter near a CPB facility, a wildfire near an airport or a natural disaster near a border crossing.


About the Author

Anoushka Deshmukh is an intern with Public Sector 360, writing for GCN, FCW and Defense Systems.


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