On Disability and Facebook? The Government Might Be Watching

Mar 19, 2019 / Amanda Chase, Horsesmouth Assistant Editor

The Trump administration has been quietly maneuvering to use Facebook and Twitter to spy on people collecting federal disability payments, The New York Times reported. Social Security revealed in a budget request last year that it planned to study whether to use surveillance of social media to “expedite the identification of fraud.” The paper cited unnamed sources who said the White House and Social Security officials have been working since then to strengthen the proposal.

The aim is to use a form of federal surveillance to monitor social media posts of Social Security disability payment recipients to see whether they’re really disabled. Critics say social media photos and posts may be a poor representation of someone’s disability. Judging a mental health issue from a photo, for example, would be nearly impossible.

More than 10 million people receive Social Security disability benefits worth more than $11 billion a month. Recipients have paid into the system through payroll taxes. The new focus on fraud comes as applications for disability payments plunged 29 percent last year from a peak of 2.9 million in 2010.

Here is the original New York Times article. This post was taken from a HuffPost summary.

 

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