FBI proposal to monitor potential threats to the US from social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter

The Wall Street Journal said the FBI is currently planning to actively collect data from social platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, which also seem to conflict with their privacy policies. In particular, Facebook, as part of an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission, must comply with restrictions that relate to the way it collects and processes user data.

“Bloomington FBI”by Amy Guth is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The FBI is seeking early warning tools for social media from third-party vendors to mitigate multiple threats. This technology solution will be used to proactively identify and reactively monitor threats to the United States and its interests. The request was made a few weeks before the recent shooting incident in Texas and Ohio, and the supplier was required to submit the proposal by the end of the month. A spokesperson for Twitter told The Wall Street Journal that its privacy policy specifically prohibits any entity from using user data for surveillance purposes or in any way that does not match the user’s reasonable expectations of privacy.

From the wording of the request, the agency only seeks to collect publicly available data and intends to collect such data while respecting civil liberties and privacy protection. The FBI says it will collect names, pictures, and IDs from public archives and combine them with information from other sources and algorithms that tag specific keywords in social interactions.

Large technology platforms have a lot of user data, and artificial intelligence tools can filter faster than humans, but algorithmic threat detection can lead to a lot of false positives. The FBI says the alerts will be handled by a dedicated team of people.