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The FBI is seeking to develop an early-warning system based on material "scraped" from social networks.
It says the application should provide information about possible domestic and global threats superimposed onto maps "using mash-up technology".
The bureau has asked contractors to suggest possible solutions including the estimated cost.
Privacy campaigners say they are concerned that the move could have implications for free speech.
The FBI's Strategic Information and Operations Center (SOIC) posted its "Social Media Application" market research request onto the web on 19 January, and it was subsequently flagged up by New Scientist magazine.