Dayton may use Israeli company to monitor comments on social media

Dayton commissioners will decide whether to hire an Israeli company to try to stop the spread of misinformation online. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
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Dayton commissioners will decide whether to hire an Israeli company to try to stop the spread of misinformation online. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Dayton commissioners this week will decide whether to hire an Israeli company to monitor conversations on social media to help the city “better understand the community” and stop the spread of misinformation, city documents state.

The city is considering paying Tel Aviv-based ZenCity $24,000 to monitor and collect communications on social media about the city. The company says it helps monitor "citizen sentiment."

ZenCity hopes to help Dayton’s city manager “get in front of information” that can negatively impact the city or that could result in the circulation of misinformation, according to a proposed agreement.

ZenCity says it collects data about citizen interactions from Facebook, Twitter, city hotline reports and other sources and uses algorithms for analysis.

The company says its analysis allows cities to measure the effectiveness of projects and specific actions, events and policy initiatives.

ZenCity has worked with a dozen communities, including West Sacramento and Paris, France.

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