The SEC Wants to Keep Tabs on Social Media Posts That Could Move Markets

The commission is looking for an off-the-shelf tool to flag important social media posts on public sites across the web.

Social media has become such a powerful tool it can affect the very institutions that underpin society. The Securities and Exchange Commission is well aware of this, prompting officials to seek out an out-of-the-box tool to monitor and flag posts that could have an effect on financial markets.

In order to keep tabs on the never-ending flow of statements on the various social media platforms, SEC is looking for a complete, web-based tool to scrape the major sites for keywords on relevant topics. When a keyword pops, the tool should send an email alerting the appropriate SEC staff.

The commission issued a solicitation Thursday for a commercial off-the-shelf social media monitoring tool from a small business—under $27.5 million—with a finished product ready for use. “The SEC is NOT seeking sources for development of a new solution or customization of a product to acquire/add the required capabilities,” it states.

The potential effects of social media on markets are undeniable. Recently, stock prices for electric car company Tesla skyrocketed after CEO Elon Musk tweeted his intention to return the company to private ownership, going so far as to announce on the platform that he had secured funding. Musk later pulled back on that announcement, but the downstream effects on the market had already occurred. The episode has prompted an SEC investigation,according to reports.

The contract solicitation and associated documents make no mention of Musk or Tesla.

The tool should be able to monitor major social media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn, as well as other relevant sites.

The base period of performance is 12 months, with four optional one-year add-on periods.

Bid proposals are due by 2 p.m. on Sept. 11. Vendors that make it to the second round will be asked to present a virtual presentation the subsequent week, which will be used for SEC’s final award determination.

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