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ABC 6 reporter, Rodney Dunigan, shares details of the federal and state governments’ efforts to reduce gun violence through social media monitoring. Mr. Dunigan speaks with Lowell Bowdle, CEO of Certitude Security, about how social media data is being analyzed. 

Social media monitoring provides knowledge of what people are saying (posting) across social media platforms, blogs and websites. Based on the use of words and hashtags across social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, blogs, etc.), sentiment analysis, keyword clouds, and mention maps can be built out. This analysis can identify a potential threat and trigger early notification for intervention before the potential violence occurs.

This approach has many limitations, however. The analysis of massive data-sets is somewhat reactionary, as many people with mental illness remain hidden in a population of more than 329 million people. The false positive rate from analysis of big data causes delays that impact lives. Despite the difficulties and challenges with the current approach, I view this as a positive step toward saving lives.