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Social media monitoring by the ECB

Privacy statement

The European Central Bank (ECB) wants to understand how social media users discuss monetary policy and banking supervision, as well as other topics relevant to the ECB, so that we can take into account the needs of the general public in our communications. To this end, like other public institutions, we analyse social media activity related to our tasks and monitor the use of our own social media channels. The conclusions drawn from the analysis help shape the ECB’s communication strategy.

Data protection legal framework applicable to the ECB

All personal data will be processed in line with European Union data protection legislation.

Who is responsible for the processing of personal data?

The ECB is the controller for the processing of personal data. We use an external provider to process and analyse public social media data on our behalf and according to our instructions.

Legal basis for the processing of personal data

We collect and process personal data for the performance of the ECB’s tasks in the public interest. We ensure that adequate and specific safeguards are implemented for the processing of personal data, in line with the applicable data protection legislation. We have consulted the European Data Protection Supervisor on this matter and comply with the recommendations received.

Origin and type of the data processed

The external provider collects and analyses data from public posts by social media users on different social media channels, and tracks different online sources including forums, blogs and online news websites. The external provider only processes information that is publicly available.

The external provider processes the following personal data on our behalf:

  • identification data (name, username, user identification and geographical area)
  • personal characteristics (age, gender and family status)
  • consumer habits
  • hobbies and interests
  • professional and educational background
  • pictures and videos
  • any other information published on a website that is analysed or on a third-party platform.

While the external provider collects the personal data listed above, we only analyse some of these data. We mostly use aggregate data for this analysis. However, individual quotes may be captured as examples and used to describe the general attitude towards the ECB in social media. These quotes will be limited to those of individuals who publish posts about the ECB in their professional capacity or those of influencers.

We have set up strict limitations on the topics we monitor and have ensured that our staff, when accessing and using the external provider’s database, are bound by clear instructions and confidentiality obligations.

Who will receive personal data?

Only authorised ECB staff will be recipients of the personal data.

How long will the ECB keep personal data?

Reports containing personal data will be stored for a maximum of five years and will then be destroyed/deleted. Upon the instructions of the ECB, the external provider will delete the results of searches after a period of six months. Automatic backups will also be deleted from the provider’s servers after six months.

Your rights

You have the right to access and rectify your personal data, to restrict the processing of your data and, under certain conditions, to ask for your data to be deleted. Since we do not directly interact with social media users whose data are being processed and, in principle, do not have access to their contact details, it is impossible or would involve a disproportionate effort to inform those users individually. We therefore inform social media users via this privacy statement.

Exercising your rights

You can exercise your rights by emailing the media monitoring team.

Further information

Further information and points of contact related to the processing of personal data can be found in the privacy policy of the ECB’s external provider.

If you have further questions, you can also email the ECB’s Data Protection Officer.

Contacting the European Data Protection Supervisor

Furthermore, you have the right to contact the European Data Protection Supervisor at any time about the processing of your personal data.

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