Labor cancels social media monitoring solicitation

No word on a re-offer.

The Labor Department canceled a solicitation to monitor numerous news sources including social media Thursday, two days after it went out.

A note on the federal contracting site said there was no information on if or when the solicitation would be offered again.

A program to monitor social media sentiment about Homeland Security Department programs raised the ire of Senators who worried during a February hearing that citizens might consider the government monitoring their tweets and public Facebook comments an invasion of privacy.

The controversy was prompted by news that an agency contractor mined Facebook, Twitter and the comments sections of online news articles in 2009 to gauge Standish, Mich., residents’ thoughts about a short-lived proposal to move Guantanamo Bay detainees to a nearby prison.

That hasn’t stopped other agencies from looking to social media to learn about the effectiveness of their programs. The Health and Human Service Department, for instance, on Sept. 11 issued a solicitation for social media monitoring tool.

The Labor solicitation sought a contractor to monitor “at least 200,000 media sources, which shall include print, electronic and social media” for news clips to “serve as an alert to emerging issues, leads for investigations by DOL agencies, and information that can be shared among agencies and staff about ongoing programs [or] activities.”

The clips “can also tell the story of DOL in action, and point to problem areas that DOL agencies may need to address,” the solicitation said.

It’s not clear what prompted the cancellation.