By Luke Butterly, Rory Winters,
A spokesperson for the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) also admitted that if people were to know the police were treating their social media activity in this way, it could negatively affect their mental and physical health.
In October 2020, using Freedom of Information (FoI) legislation, The Detail sought all social media monitoring reports that the PSNI's Strategic Communication and Engagement Department produced in a one-year-period.
We were provided with hundreds of pages of heavily redacted material, with many pages entirely blacked out. In addition, over 165 pages were not released at all.
The PSNI redacted all posts, made by members of the public on social media, from the documentation released to The Detail.
The only posts shown in the material were made by official PSNI social media accounts and occasionally by established media outlets or public bodies.
We were, however, provided with the police’s internal comments on both the redacted and unredacted social media posts – though many of these comments were also redacted, to varying degrees.
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