Surveillance Firm 'Geofeedia' Cuts Half of Staff After Losing Access To Twitter, Facebook

In mid-October, an American Civil Liberties Union issued a report accusing police of using Geofeedia — a CIA-backed social-media monitoring platform — to track protests and other large gatherings. As a result, Instagram, Facebook and eventually, Twitter cut the company off from its valuable data stream, causing them to cut half of their staff to “focus on a variety of innovations” that will allow them to serve their customers and continue their “rapid growth trajectory as a leading real-time analytics and alerting platform.” Chicago Tribune reports: Geofeedia cut the jobs, mostly in sales in the Chicago office, in the third week of October, the spokesman said. It has offices in Chicago, Indianapolis and Naples, Fla. The cuts were first reported by Crain’s Chicago Business. An emailed statement attributed to CEO Phil Harris said Geofeedia wasn’t “created to impact civil liberties,” but in the wake of the public debate over their product, they’re changing the company’s direction. Harris said Geofeedia’s software has been “impactful” for schools, sports leagues, customer service, marketing and event planning, per the statement. He also referred to the company’s $17 million funding round in February — which brought its total funding to nearly $24 million — and “strong sales and growth” as strengthening the company. “Our strong financial position has allowed us to carefully consider the appropriate areas of focus for our technology going forward,” Harris wrote in the statement.

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