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flutherother's avatar

Could governments predict social unrest by analysing social media communications?

Asked by flutherother (22274 points ) February 5th, 2013

Google knows when there is an outbreak of flu faster than the CRC through analysing search results. Could the government in a similar way learn of public discontent and potential civil disturbance by monitoring the social media such as Twitter, Google and even Fluther?

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12 Answers

josie's avatar

Makes sense

ucme's avatar

I seem to remember the police doing exactly that a couple of years back on twitter with those rioting/looting morons. They were using it to co-ordinate their movements as each night wore on & the police quickly caught on.

Sunny2's avatar

Of course. However, privacy issues should interfere. I think there’s a lot of observation done of people who are suspect. Who knows how much?

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I think they could glean a lot by reading the comments left after news stories – like what people thought of the Casey Anthony trial or how they feel about political issues. I think all they would get from Facebook is who is dating who and photos of teenage girls’ feet.

SamandMax's avatar

This is already happening, I’m sure.

@ucme yet the Police were largely incapable of being able to cope with the far reaching severity of it, from what I’ve seen.

augustlan's avatar

I would think so. I’m sure they do monitor social media to some extent already.

Carinaponcho's avatar

Yes. This is very possible. But the whole thing is a little bit Big Brother.

ucme's avatar

@SamandMax I know, just stood by & watched businesses burn & an outbreak of late night “shopping”, slow & ponderous.

flutherother's avatar

@ucme The police seemed caught out by the riots in 2011. They used Facebook and Twitter evidence to prosecute people after the event rather than to nip things in the bud. No doubt they will have learned from their mistakes.

Buttonstc's avatar

I’m assuming that the smarter ones are doing it already.

As far as privacy concerns, I don’t see how that’s a factor at all with Twitter.

And if someone hasn’t locked down their Facebook parameters to prevent snooping by authorities, then they really don’t have a leg to stand on.

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes. That’s why Mubarak temporarily shut down the Internet in Egypt. But it only made matters worse. Smart politicians should use social media as indicators which topics to discuss with people.

DrucyWeil's avatar

Yes I think social media could be of great help to study about society and what is happening there

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