Activist holding megaphone at rally

Victory! Social Media Helps Police Spy On Activists

Update (3/13/2017): Thanks to joint efforts of ACLU of California, Center for Media Justice, and Color of Change, Facebook publicly announced updates to Facebook and Instagram platform policies to clearly prohibit the use of company data for surveillance. As a next step, the coalition is pushing the companies to establish robust systems to ensure that important rules protecting users against surveillance are followed.

Police are using social media surveillance companies’ analytics and search capabilities to monitor activists protesting police brutality.

The ACLU of California broke the news that Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram had data deals with Geofeedia – a social media company that characterized activist groups and unions as “overt threats” and marketed its tool to monitor protests.

In an important first step, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter cut off Geofeedia. But Geofeedia is just a piece of the puzzle.

Many companies sell social media surveillance tools to police. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram need to take additional steps to safeguard users against police surveillance.

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.

Tell Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to slam shut surveillance side doors and make sure their data can’t be used for discriminatory surveillance.

  • Color of Change
18,603 Signed 20,000 Needed

To Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter:

Make sure your platforms can’t be used to target activists. Cut off companies using your data for surveillance and have strong policies and systems in place to slam shut surveillance side doors and properly protect users.

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