Chile plays Big Brother



Scott Barbour

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera has 453,415 followers on Twitter, and he wants to know what all of them are saying.

The Chilean government has announced that it will monitor comments on social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter.

The cost of playing Big Brother? 14 million pesos annually, or roughly $30,000. BrandMetric won the contract to carry out the monitoring.

The company's software allows it to collect entries on specific topics and to know the geolocation of specific posts.

Unsurprisingly, Twitter and Facebook users aren't pleased about this news. The Twitter hashtag #gobiernosapois is trending in Chile.

Half of Chileans use Facebook, and 300,000 are on Twitter. (The country's population is almost 17 million.)

But then again, $30,000 is small potatoes to the $600,000 that Malaysia spent on making its Facebook pages.

Update: The government press department said in a statement that the new tool will help the government listen to its citizens. The statement says monitoring social networks will allow the government to gauge public opinion, in the same way as listening to the radio or reading newspapers.