The government is about to start spying on your Facebook and Twitter feeds a lot more

Politicians like to claim that they don’t care what people say about them. We’ve always suspected that’s untrue – but now we know it is.

Ministers yesterday slipped out an announcement that agreement has been reached for the first cross-Whitehall contract to monitor what people tweet, post and blog about the Government.

Under the terms of the deal five companies have been approved to keep an eye on Facebook, Twitter and blogs and provide daily reports to Whitehall on what’s being said in “real time”.

Ministers, their advisers and officials will provide the firms with “keywords and topics” to monitor. A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said the contract was about getting better value for money.

“Departments have always monitored social media but this agreement means they can find the most appropriate way of doing this at the best price,” she said.

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