West Sacramento Launching Controversial Program Watching Public Social Media Posts

[CBS13]

WEST SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — West Sacramento is the first city to launch a controversial new program that watches what people post about it online.

The pilot project gives city leaders a look at what’s trending in the city, whether it’s good or bad. It’s also creating privacy concerns around how the data is being used.

When a wave of mailbox thefts hit the city last year, people complained about it on social media, and West Sacramento was watching. City leaders were alerted to the community concerns by a new system.

“We saw the thing that most people were talking about were mailbox thefts,” said West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon. “That’s something that we might not have noticed just by waiting for people to come to city hall or filing a complaint.”

cabaldon on social media monitoring West Sacramento Launching Controversial Program Watching Publics Social Media Posts
The pilot project with Zencity gives city leaders like Mayor Christopher Cabaldon a look at what’s trending in the city, whether it’s good or bad.

The city is using Zencity, a system that crawls through publicly available social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It takes all of that data and sorts through to find what people are talking about and whether it’s positive or negative.

“The purpose of Zencity is to see the big picture,” ...

“There’s no privacy issues because we’re not opening up anything that hasn’t already been published publicly for the purpose of being public,” Cabaldon said.

Instead, he hopes it will give all residents an equal say in civic matters.

“It allows us to hear the whole community and not just the loudest voices that come to our chambers for a public hearing,” he said.

The city is spending $12,000 from the Measure E sales-tax increase to license the software for one year. It gets a 66 percent discount as an ...

READ MORE 
.  
 

Image: