The world's tweets are being studied inside a northern Virginia building.
Regular people like you and I might use Twitter and Facebook to vent and share adorable cat pics, but according to the Associated Press, the CIA is combing through millions of our digital scraps for counterterrorism and counterproliferation purposes. Big Brother, is that you?
It should be no surprise that the CIA is armed with "analysts" that are sifting through the hordes of tweets, Facebook updates and Internet chat room conversations to probe for useful information — to protect us from another 9/11 attack.
Set up by the 9/11 Commission, the CIA's analysts are mostly experts "with a masters' degree in library science and multiple languages" who gather "snapshots of world public opinion" such as the flutter of social outpouring that followed the death of Osama bin Laden.
The Associated Press says that by monitoring social media trends, the CIA's operation predicted that there would be an Egyptian uprising before it even happened — it just didn't know when it would explode.
Is the CIA spying on you? Yes. Do they really care about you and your relationship problems you love to rant about on Twitter? Not unless they suspect you're a terrorist or spy and that your tweets are actually secret agent codes. Carry on now!
Image credit: Parcbench (Twitter bird added by us)