The Department of Homeland Security wants to track the comings and goings of journalists, bloggers and other “media influencers” through a database.
The DHS’s “Media Monitoring” plan, which was first reported by FedBizOpps.gov, would give the contracting company “24/7 access to a password protected, media influencer database, including journalists, editors, correspondents, social media influencers, bloggers etc.” in order to “identify any and all media coverage related to the Department of Homeland Security or a particular event.”
The database would be designed to monitor the public activities of media members and influencers by “location, beat and influencers,” the document says.
The chosen contractor should be able to “present contact details and any other information that could be relevant including publications this influencer writes for, and an overview of the previous coverage published by the influencer.”
Also, the contractor would have access to a password protected, mobile app that provides an “overview of search results in terms of online articles and social media conversations,” in several different languages such as Arabic, Chinese and Russian.
The request comes amid concerns regarding accuracy in media and the potential for U.S. elections and policy to be influenced via “fake news.”
The plan calls for the ability to track 290,000 news sources including online, print, broadcast and social media. Also, it would have the ability to track media coverage in over 100 languages, along with the “ability to create unlimited data tracking, statistical breakdown, and graphical analyses on ad-hoc basis.”
DHS spokesman Tyler Q. Houlton tweeted on Friday that the practice of monitoring the press is considered “standard.”
Responses from would be contractors are due April 13.