(FBI photo)

FBI Wants Contractor to ID and Store Social Media on ‘Diverse Range of Threats’

The FBI is looking for a contractor to “proactively identify and reactively monitor” social media accounts for national security threats.

According to the July 8 request for proposal, the FBI is seeking “access to tools that will allow for the exploitation of lawfully collected/acquired data from social media platforms that will be stored, vetted and formatted by a vendor.”

“The mission-critical exploitation of social media will enable the Bureau to detect, disrupt, and investigate an ever growing diverse range of threats to U.S. National interests,” adds the RFP.

The firm fixed-price contract would begin in Sept. 29 for a base period of one year, with four additional years possible.

“The use of social media platforms, by terrorist groups, domestic threats, foreign intelligence services, and criminal organizations to further their illegal activity creates a demonstrated need for tools to properly identify the activity and react appropriately. With increased use of social media platforms by subjects of current FBI investigations and individuals that pose a threat to the United States, it is critical to obtain a service which will allow the FBI to identify relevant information from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms in a timely fashion,” the RFP continues. “Consequently, the FBI needs near real time access to a full range of social media exchanges in order to obtain the most current information available in furtherance of its law enforcement and intelligence missions.”

On the statement of objectives, the FBI said it wants to receive alerts “derived from constant monitoring of social media platforms based on keywords relevant to national security and location” with priority content filtering for “specific subjects, identifiers, geographic location, keywords, photographic tagging.”

“Notifications are sent via email to either a team account or individual user accounts based on real time threat, incidents as they tie to the geolocation of interest. Selected tool must allow for customization of delivery frequency, content of interest and geographical layers by the user directly,” the procurement document adds. “…Users are able to select to monitor the development of a notification-of-interest, as well as seek relevant historical social media traffic for further analysis.”

The Bureau also wants to “obtain the full social media profile of persons-of-interest and their affiliation to any organization or groups through the corroboration of multiple social media sources,” including “user IDs, emails, IP addresses and telephone numbers, along with likely additional account with similar IDs or aliases.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray warned at a September 2018 conference that incidents have shown “the reach and influence of social media propaganda on our youth” with radicalization at “younger and younger ages.”

In April at the Council on Foreign Relations, Wray said Russia remains a significant threat to election security as “they use social media … to try and spin us up and pit us against each other and to undermine Americans faith in democracy.”

“They’re not beating around the bush in terms of how pervasively they’re monitoring social media content,” ACLU National Security Project senior staff attorney Hugh Handeyside tweeted about the RFP.

Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a senior fellow specializing in terrorism analysis at the Haym Salomon Center. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15, a private investigator and a security consultant. She is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera and SiriusXM.

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