Facebook and Twitter both release annual transparency reports detailing how often they release information directly to either local police or federal authorities. However, proprietary data sourced via a third party [like Geofeedia] seemingly falls outside of official requests, thus leaving a blindspot in terms of the “transparency” that both companies have said they value...
As uncovered by the ACLU, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook have all provided Geofeedia with varying levels of access to this data, which it then used as a bargaining chip when negotiating with law enforcement.
There are no exact numbers on how many people were targeted, but as discussed in a Geofeedia “case study,” they were directly involved in the Baltimore Police Department’s response to the Freddie Gray protests. Calling it a “stroke of luck” that the BPD renewed their Geofeedia contract only days before the protests, the study reveals that law enforcement used facial recognition software to identify specific protestors from social media photos. They then matched that information to outstanding warrants and arrested protestors “directly from the crowd.”