We can all agree that fake news and propaganda remain a top concern for not only people but American officials as well. That’s why officials are determined to keep track of media outlets to help curb misinformation campaigns.
For this, the Department of Homeland Security has called for companies to create a database to track over 290,000 “media influencers” around the world, including bloggers, social network accounts and online news outlets.
This type of database system would identify contributor details (such as employers and contact information), and allow searching of individuals and outlets through categories like their sentiment, focuses of coverage and locations. DHS is expecting responses to this request by April 13th.
While this type of system could theoretically help curb fake news, there’s also dangers of abuse. For example, this could be used to exert pressure on domestic journalists and Internet personalities who challenge officials.
Gizmodo also notes DHS’s vagueness is a cause of concern. DHS would leave itself an opening for collecting “any other information that could be relevant” about these influencers, and no details are provided as to what that could be. This type of database system could prove to be troublesome for bloggers and social influencers who aren’t usually on government radar.