We all know about using keywords to help Google find our websites and blogs, right?
Well, it seems that the agency charged with protecting us from terrorists uses keywords, too. They use them to help them identify potential terrorist threats.
It’s possible that using the words on the government’s “watch list” in your social media marketing campaigns might attract unwanted attention from the watchdog agency. You’d think that it would be easy to avoid the kinds of words that might give the mistaken impression that you’re posting the kind of thing that attracts law enforcement attention, right?
Maybe not. In response to a Freedom of Information Act Request, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released a list of several hundred keywords that can trigger an investigation. The Daily Mail published the entire list here.
So should you drop the keywords that DHS is monitoring from your social media vocabulary? Probably not. DHS says that it’s searching for “context”, and “patterns”, not single words.
Many of the words on the lists aren’t in the vocabulary most of us use on social media. But others are everyday words and phrases.
Here’s an alphabetic list of 50 words on the DHS watch list that I’ve used on Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking sites. (Note: This is a fraction of the entire list, and is listed alphabetically, not according to the categories in the DHS list.)
- El Paso
- Home grown
- Law enforcement
- San Diego
- Social media
I may use these words less often in future social media posts. How about you? Will you change your vocabulary to avoid any of the words on the watch list?