As more than 60,000 football fans travel to Phoenix for Sunday’s Super Bowl, the Secret Service will reportedly be monitoring Facebook and Twitter streams, along with other forms of social media, in an attempt to distinguish between real and empty threats during the game. What the agency will not be doing, however, is using software that can detect sarcasm, which it had sought to acquire in June of last year as part of a social media analytics tool.
At the time, a Service Service spokesperson told the Washington Post that screening for sarcasm was “just one of 16 or 18 things we are looking at.” Instead, the agency will monitor open-source social media sites, such as blogs, Facebook and Twitter, “for situational awareness,” according to the website for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The government will use search terms such as “black out” to monitor social media activities, according to nextgov.com.
Federal officials will also take measures Sunday to address potential threats, stop counterfeit vendors of sportswear, and check fans entering the University of Phoenix stadium, where the game will be played, for illegal substances, weapons and other hazards. The Super Bowl is designated a Level 1 security event by the Department of Homeland Security, superseded only by events like the U.N. General Assembly.
During a visit to Arizona Wednesday in part to oversee DHS security procedures during the Super Bowl, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson relaunched the “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign, according to USA Today. The message will appear both digitally and physically, from buses and billboards to mobile apps, and encourage individuals to report suspicious activity.