Social Sentinel FAQ

What is it? What does it do? Who needs it? Why is it important? Find helpful answers to those questions and more in our FAQ.

Why does Social Sentinel exist?

Safety is a human right, and our need to be connected is a human drive. The explosive proliferation of social media finds some users posting their harmful intentions—publicly—towards the people and places where we learn, work and play. Our service provides clients with insights into those public threats to help maintain the safety of their communities. We do this with a commitment to protect our collective (and constitutional) rights to: privacy, freedom of association, and freedom of speech; a commitment found in the DNA of the design and delivery of our service.

What is Social Sentinel?

Since 2015, the Social Sentinel® service (Social Sentinel) has provided near real-time awareness of possible safety/security threats made on public social media. We built our service to assess public social media across multiple platforms to detect potential acts of harm or threats relevant to our clients.

Such threats could range from mass shootings to destruction of your property. Social Sentinel’s service is an important safety and security tool among many needed today to create awareness of possible tragedies, and to provide a window of time to assess and respond accordingly. We believe that early intervention is a critical step in preventing such tragedies from becoming a reality.

Who uses Social Sentinel?

Any organization that creates a gathering of people with the intent to learn, work, or have fun. For example: schools, colleges, universities, sports teams, arenas, festivals, convention centers, corporate campuses, theaters, and more.  

How does Social Sentinel find threats?

We assess public posts for matches against our proprietary Sentinel Search℠ Library to determine if they contain the language of harm. This pre-populated collection of more than a half million behavioral threat indicators was developed by experts in mental health, public safety, security, linguistics and data science. The Library continually evolves and adapts to address changes in language and expression under the guidance of our Librarian, linguists and data science team.

How does Social Sentinel work?

Our system has four stages:

Access: Social Sentinel has authorized access* to over one billion public social media posts daily.

Process: We scan for more than a half million behavioral threat indicators found in our Sentinel SearchSM  library. 

Match: We map alerts to your team via our proprietary matching processes powered by unique characteristics of your assets.

Alert: Get alerts in near real time and process them through your existing threat assessment protocols.

How are alerts shared with a client?

Alerts can be sent via text and/or email to our clients’ users, and they can access alerts through our online application. The recipients and their preferred delivery methods can be updated at any time.

Does Social Sentinel see private posts?

No. We do not identify alerts from private posts. We have developed our industry-leading standard to protect constitutional rights while allowing for meaningful, preventive public safety action.

Does Social Sentinel violate an author’s right to privacy?

No. We believe that privacy is a human right as much as a constitutional right. Our service accesses only public social media, which can be seen by anyone, anywhere, anytime. If the author’s account is marked as private, or they use a closed social network, our service does not have access.

Is Social Sentinel a monitoring, surveillance or investigation tool?

No, and this is an important distinction. Aligning with our commitment to protecting constitutional rights, we developed Social Sentinel to be a threat alert service that provides information about imminent safety and security issues. Our solution is not built as an investigative tool, and cannot be used as such.

*Access to data from social media partners: Social Sentinel accesses data from our social media partners through specific, approved use cases and via permissions outlined in API Terms of Use. Social Sentinel does not use any of this data, including from Facebook and Instagram, for monitoring. For Instagram, use of the data is limited to public content that explicitly includes the client’s named assets. For Facebook, use of data is limited to a client’s public FB page and does not include other public social media content.