The Fed Wants to Know What You’re Tweeting

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If you’ve been badmouthing the Federal Reserve on Twitter and thinking no one cares, be warned: That’s not going to be the case much longer. The Fed is already planning to ensure that it knows exactly what you’re saying about it on all forms of social media.

Responses are due today to a Request for Proposal issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which is looking for “a Sentiment Analysis and Social Media Monitoring Solution [to] identify and reach out to key bloggers and influencers,” in addition to monitoring any and all public online conversations about the Fed, as part of the FRBNY’s “Social Media Listening Platforms” initiative.

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As the RFP explains:

Social media platforms are changing the way organizations are communicating to the public. Conversations are happening all the time and everywhere. There is need for the Communications Group to be timely and proactively aware of the reactions and opinions expressed by the general public as it relates to the Federal Reserve and its actions on a variety of subjects…

Social media listening platforms are solutions that gather data from various social media outlets and news sources. They monitor billions of conversations and generate text analytics based on predefined criteria. They can also determine the sentiment of a speaker or writer with respect to some topic or document.

Ideally, the Fed says, it’s looking for a solution that will monitor online discussions from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs and online forums as well as aggregate data from media outlets like the Wall Street Journal, CNN or even Techland. I don’t know which I’m more surprised about: that the Fed thinks this level of surveillance is necessary, or that there’s not already something available to federal agencies that lets them do this.

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Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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