recommended reading

FDA Wants to Track its Social Media Reach

Carsten Reisinger/

The Food and Drug Administration is in the market for a digital tool to monitor how well it’s getting its message out through social media and whether the public’s response is positive or negative, solicitation documents show.

FDA’s external affairs office would use the proposed tool to track how often people share tweets and Facebook posts about its programs, which social media platforms they use to share the information, where they're doing it and what language the sharers are using, according to the sources sought notice published on Monday.

The agency also wants to “monitor overall conversations to see what the public is discussing about our work, answer questions for them, and develop consumer content for FDA.GOV and our social media channels,” the notice states.  

A sources sought notice doesn’t obligate the government to make any purchases.

“By monitoring the success and failure of our messages via measurement and sentiment, we can plan more useful strategies to serve our audiences,” the agency said.

The system should also track keywords identified by FDA and “provide a first glance at whether the chatter about FDA topic is positive, negative, or neutral with automated sentiment analysis,” the notice said.

The General Services Administration has encouraged agencies to use metrics and analysis to ensure their social media outreach efforts are as effective as possible. Agencies have found trouble in the past, though, when Congress thought their social media monitoring efforts encroached on the public’s privacy.

Some members of a House panel on counterterrorism and intelligence were livid in 2012, for example, after learning a Homeland Security Department contractor had used social media sentiment analysis to gauge Standish, Mich., residents’ thoughts about a short-lived proposal to move Guantanamo Bay prisoners to an area prison.

(Image via Carsten Reisinger/

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.