Police are using analytics and search capabilities sold by social media surveillance companies to monitor activists protesting police brutality.
These companies – like one called Geofeedia – have powerful tools that they are marketing to the police, allowing law enforcement to monitor your posts, what protests you attend, even the hashtags you use.
The ACLU of California found that over 500 law enforcement and public agencies used the services of Geofeedia – tools marketed to police to monitor protesters and activists of color.
At least 20 agencies in California used social media surveillance tools, and there’s evidence that law enforcement tracked South Asian, Muslim, and Sikh activists in San Jose and Black Lives Matter activists in Oakland.
In an important first step, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter just cut ties with Geofeedia – but that's only one piece of the puzzle. Other companies still offer police similar social media surveillance tools.
Social media is a driver for activism, political conversation, and the fight for human rights.We need to make sure it continues to be a safe forum for millions to connect about the most important issues in our lives – and can’t be used as funnels for a surveillance database.
We need to make sure Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram continue to be safe platforms for millions to connect about the most important issues in our lives – and can't be used as funnels for a surveillance database.
Thank you for taking action,
Nicole Ozer for the ACLU Action team