Trump Administration Monitors Coronavirus Sentiments

More remarkable is that the office of the assistant secretary for preparedness and response is bothering to compile such sentiments.

The company that collected and analyzed the data, Brandwatch, tracks discussions on social networks and, according to its website, offers a “new kind of intelligence.”

For the health and human services analysis, Brandwatch tracked emotions in six categories: anger, disgust, fear, joy, surprise and sadness. And it reviewed online discussion data from what was described as “top news sites,” with a majority coming from the website, which tracks crimes by locations. Destinations more widely considered to be top news sites were not included in the analysis.

Brandwatch did not respond to questions about the findings.

Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that a Brandwatch company, Crimson Hexagon, had a $30,000 contract with the C.D.C. dating back to last year. The contract covered topics related to injury prevention.

Health and human services officials beefed up the department’s social media team several years ago, the former official said. During disasters, members of that team monitor Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms since people often communicate their needs in that way when more official communication systems are down. In the immediate aftermath of a hurricane or an earthquake, social media posts can often direct resources to the areas that are hardest hit.

But the communications teams have also examined broader social media trends to evaluate whether the level of the aid is adequate, based on the degree of satisfaction or frustration expressed online, the former official said.

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