Social media group at DHS could soon become even more social

A bipartisan group of House members has proposed legislation that would expand a social media working group at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The DHS working group has met since 2012 and convenes for the purpose of discussing how to use social media to help provide information during a terrorist attack. The bill from Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) would require the current DHS working group to include members of the private sector, which she said would help the group shape its decisions.

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"By adding representatives from the private sector to the working group, this bill will allow a wider range of stakeholders to share best practices and make recommendations for improvements to government partners," she said Monday.

She added that last week's building explosion in Harlem, N.Y., shows how people rely on social media to get information, and said the DHS needs to stay in better touch with the private sector to improve communications techniques.

"Last week, people were logging onto Facebook and Twitter for links to local news stories and to view firsthand accounts of damage," she said. "City residents were checking social media for vital information such as street closures, where to get assistance and also taking to social media to share their thoughts and comfort fellow New Yorkers."

The bill would require the new group to be co-chaired by a state-level official and would also require it to report to Congress annually on the recommendations it's developing.