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Statement

Coalition Letter Urges the Department of Homeland Security to End Social Media Monitoring Initiative

On August 24, 2021, the Brennan Center and five other organizations sent a letter to the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, urging him to end a new social media monitoring program due to a lack of effectiveness and serious civil rights and civil liberties concerns.

Published: August 24, 2021

The new initi­at­ive is part of DHS’s efforts to combat domestic terror­ism and intends to identify online “narrat­ives” that are likely to incite viol­ence, as well as people who may be suscept­ible to those narrat­ives based on their social media beha­vior. While recog­niz­ing the need to mount a robust response to the deadly viol­ence aimed at reli­gious, ethnic, and LGBTQ minor­ity communit­ies around the nation, the letter recom­mends that DHS stop this effort. Social media content is notori­ously diffi­cult to accur­ately inter­pret and attrib­ute, and broadly monit­or­ing social media would sweep up indi­vidu­als who will not commit viol­ent crimes, could chill polit­ical expres­sion, and may be turned against the margin­al­ized communit­ies the program is inten­ded to protect.

Coali­tion Letter Urges the … by The Bren­nan Center for Justice