Human resources at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) are using automation to stop the social media feeds of government officials and their staff, the New York Times reported on Friday.
The automated social media removal system has already been used in the case of the Justice Department’s director, Jeff Sessions.
“These automated systems are so prevalent in the field that the DOJ is using them in its own capacity,” said Dan Kapan, a former senior staffer at the DOJ and current executive director of the Center for Democracy & Technology, a nonprofit group that monitors the use of government technology.
“They are just so pervasive that they’re not even being acknowledged by anyone.
This is not a problem that has been solved.”
The Times also reported that the Justice Dept. used a system called Social Media Control and Dissemination (SMCD) to block the feeds of former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and former Vice President Mike Pence.
The DOJ also used the system to block Conway’s Facebook feed in January, which she said was because of her criticism of the Trump Administration’s policy on the transgender military.
The tweets were eventually removed, but Conway remained blocked from using social media for the next several months.
The technology, Kapan told the Times, “is just a tool that people use to get rid of information that they don’t like.”
“If the people are being able to do it in the name of privacy, we should be able to get away with it,” he said.