U.S. Senate Wants Facebook, Twitter To Report Suspicious ‘Terrorist Activity’

Be careful what you post in jest on social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, and even YouTube, lest the U.S. government labels you as a potential terrorist threat. It's the online world we live in these days, and in an effort to thwart the bad guys (and gals) before they can do harm, a new bill would encourage social media sites to notify federal authorities of online "terrorist activity."

According to Reuters, which claims to have seen a text of the bill that was approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee, social media sites would have the green light to tattle on posts that talk about "explosives, destructive devices, and weapons of mass destruction." The bill has already been sent to the Senate for a vote, though it's not known when the vote will take place.

Counter Terrorism

Dianne Feinstein, the senior Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee and sponsor of the new bill, wants to see social media sites take a more proactive role when it comes to this sort of thing.

"Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube all, as I understand it, remove content on their sites that come to their attention if it violates their terms of service, including terrorism," Feinstein said. She added that "the companies do not proactively monitor their sites to identify such content nor do they inform the FBI when the identify or remove their content. I believe they should."

It's an interesting piece of legislation in that social media sites wouldn't be penalized for failing to comply. The social media section, which is part of broader legislation, is being spun as a way for sites like Facebook and Twitter to legally protect themselves from privacy lawsuits if they choose to report their users to authorities.