Fed to monitor Facebook, Twitter to snoop on critics?
In a move that illustrates its sensitivity to public perception, the Fed bank reportedly is seeking bids for software to monitor what's being said about it on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. In business vernacular, the Fed has issued a request for proposal. Here's a link to the RFP.
Word of the move has exploded in the blogosphere -- and if the Fed were monitoring social media currently it would find, not surprisingly, that the commentary has been less than flattering. Much of it, in fact, is of the Big Brother variety.
"What they really want to do is to gather information on everyone that views the Federal Reserve negatively," wrote the Economic Collapse blog. "It is unclear how they plan to use this information once they have it, but considering how many alternative media sources have been shut down lately, this is obviously a very troubling sign."
In a report to clients, Nicolas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx Group in New York, attempted to put the firestorm in some (humorous) context.
"When leading presidential candidates threaten the head of the nation's central bank with charges of treason, it is safe to say that criticizing the Fed is the status quo position," Colas wrote. "Throw a bucket of deep-fried Oreos at any number of state fairs this fall and the majority of people you'll hit will likely have an unkind word or two about the U.S. central bank and its handling of the banking system over the last decade."
-- Walter Hamilton
Photo: The Federal Reserve in Washington. Credit: J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press