Monitoring of WMFS Social Media sites

FOI Number: FOI23124

Where applicable, we publish responses to requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. This one,  Monitoring of WMFS Social Media sites, is detailed below.

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Freedom of Information

Published on 18 October 2023

Ref: FOI/23124

RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST  

West Midlands Fire Service has now completed its search for the information requested on 14th September 2023.

Please find below a summary of our findings.

Request

Monitoring of Social Media sites in relation to West Midlands Fire Service and or West Midlands Fire Authority

The name of the operating system used to capture data of persons, directive and or general.

And who actually conducts this monitoring task?

Grade, role, responsibilities and department?

Where does said data capture get stored?

How is such data captured?

Who has access to the data captured?

Is data captured from specific areas: WMFS say Facebook or Twitter or other social media sites?

Could you name every place that data is captured from.

Who decided the target areas or persons? And why?

Who or how is the decision of the target fire service or fire authority personnel to be monitored?

Who or how is the decision to target specific members of the public?

Is a secure password known only to authorised personnel required to access data captured?

What security is there around the data held?

Response

  • The name of the operating system used to capture data of persons, directive and or general.

WMFS Do not use an operating system or software to capture data of persons from social media

WMFS use a social media management system ‘Sprout Social’ to manage our social media platforms. The software is predominantly used to schedule social media posts across our social media platforms and identify ‘mentions’ of West Midlands Fire Service.

  • And who actually conducts this monitoring task?
  • Role specific
  • Departments
  • Grade, role, responsibilities and department?

WMFS has several social media accounts. On a daily basis, social media is monitored by our Corporate Communications team.

Where the details of grade and role have been requested an exemption under Section 40 of the FOIA 2000 applies, as this would be personally identifiable information.

  • Where does said data capture get stored?

Any information captured or created during organisational business activities is stored in our organisational Office 365 environment, including SharePoint, OneDrive or Microsoft Teams.

  • How is such data captured?

The method of data capture would depend on the data to be captured, for example; some social media posts may have an option to capture the posts unique link address, or a ‘screenshot’ may be captures of the post.

  • Who has access to the data captured? Is data captured from specific areas: WMFS say Facebook or Twitter or other social media sites?
  • Could you name every place that data is captured from.

WMFS regularly monitor activities across all social media platforms which we engage with our communities through. These include:

  • Twitter (X)
  • Facebook
  • Linkedin
  • YouTube

As publicly available platforms, any employee or member of the public could access, and capture information posted on social media.

Any information captured as part of routine management of WMFS social media would be stored in an access controlled O365 environment.

  • Who decided the target areas or persons? And why?
  • Who or how is the decision of the target fire service or fire authority personnel to be monitored?
  • Who or how is the decision to target specific members of the public?

Where members of the public engage with us via social media, WMFS will review data posted by members of the public. This may be identified by members of the public commenting on our social media pages, ‘tagging’ WMFS accounts, using WMFS related ‘hashtags’ or otherwise ‘mentioning’ the service.

Where content is identified that may require investigation, for example a complaint, offensive content, or content which may be critical of, or potentially damaging to or defamatory of WMFS or an individual, WMFS have a legitimate interest to process this data.

This means that we may need to capture the content posted in a public domain, keep an accurate record of it and investigate the content further.

  • Is a secure password known only to authorised personnel required to access data captured?
  • What security is there around the data held?

WMFS apply appropriate security to all organisational information in line with the Government Security classifications and Minimum Cyber Security Standards

If you have any queries about this freedom of information request, please contact us.  Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

For service complaints, issues or comments regarding this request please contact The Public Relations Department, West Midlands Fire Service, 99 Vauxhall Road, Birmingham, B7 4HW.

Further information concerning Freedom of Information requests can be found on the Information Commissioner website at either the following link: https://ico.org.uk/ or at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, SK9 5AF.

Please note: Due to a migration and ensuring the accessibility of our policies and documents where possible, not all documents referenced in our FOI's are available. If you require a copy of a document referenced in our FOI's which is not linked below or is in a format that is not accessible to you, please email contact@wmfs.net.