Businesses Monitor Social Media To Check Out Employees, Visitors

Published: Tuesday, July 12, 2016 - 6:43pm
Updated: Wednesday, July 13, 2016 - 7:45am
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(KJZZ file photo)
(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
Clem McDavid (left) explains his company's social media monitoring capabilities at a conference in Phoenix.

Metal detectors and bag checks have become pretty common security measures at venues that attract big crowds. Now, there’s growing interest in a less noticeable security measure: monitoring social media.

At the National Sports Safety and Security Conference, more than 50 vendors fill the exhibit hall at the Marriott Desert Ridge Resort in north Phoenix. In the back, Clem McDavid mans a small booth that covers a wide area.

“We go out and find whatever it is you’re looking for on the web or various social media platforms," he said.

McDavid works for Babel Street, a company that collects information from more than 200 languages. He said they’ve worked with law enforcement and security at public stadiums and found that people tend to post a lot more when they attend large-scale events.

At one NFL game, McDavid said, they found a post with pictures and video of a fight inside a bathroom. They shared the images with security who reportedly found the guys in the stands and kicked them out. McDavid said they also help businesses track employee’s online activities.

"We’re not breaking any barriers, going behind firewalls or anything like that," he said. "If you’re putting something out there maybe it’s your First Amendment right to say so, but you do not have a right to necessarily be an employee and that’s what companies are looking for.”

Currently, his company monitors more than 30 social media platforms and expects to add more.