The Federal Reserve is seeking contractors to build a tool that will monitor and analyze blogs, news reports, and social-media chatter about the central bank and its policies, with a goal of being able to use “public relations” strategies to counter the growing barrage of negative publicity. But critics quickly added to the institution’s troubled image as the news spread by lambasting the half-baked scheme as “Orwellian” spying and “intimidation.”
The Fed’s “Request for Proposal” explains that the institution needs a platform to “monitor billions of conversations” and “identify and reach out to key bloggers and influencers.” Information collected will be used to measure the effectiveness of the central bank’s “public relations” and “communication strategies” — known in laymen’s terms as propaganda operations.
“There is need for the Communications Group to be timely and proactively aware of the reactions and opinions expressed by the general public as it relates to the Federal Reserve and its actions on a variety of subjects,” the document states. News outlets, Facebook, Twitter, forums, blogs, YouTube, and other social media platforms will all be targeted.
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