Twitter ends data access for LE surveillance tool

The tool let law enforcement search specific keywords and monitor social media users


By PoliceOne Staff

Twitter has ended access to its user data for a law enforcement tool that allowed police officials to monitor social media. 

According to Fortune, the Media Sonar tool allowed departments to search for key terms to help police “identify illegal activity and threats to public safety.”

In addition to keywords tied to things like drugs and prostitution, terms such as “policebrutality,” “JusticeForMike,” and “dissent” were flagged as well, according to a discovery by the ACLU through a 2015 public records request. 

According to a statement by Twitter, the monitoring violates the social media company’s policy.  

“Our commitment to social justice is core to our mission,” spokesperson Chris Moody said in the statement. “We prohibit developers using the Public APIs and Gnip data products from allowing law enforcement — or any other entity — to use Twitter data for surveillance purposes. Period.”

The Daily Dot reported that Twitter cut off Media Sonar’s data access in October.  

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