The Bizarre Social Media Searches of Homeland Security - Atlas Obscura
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The Bizarre Social Media Searches of Homeland Security

“Gladiator,” “happy camp,” and, uh, “china AND ebola.”

Homeland Security’s National Operations Center. (Photo: Unknown/Public Domain)

A version of this story originally appeared on

After the Department of Homeland Security released documents which indicated that it was monitoring social media via its National Operations Center’s Media Monitoring Capability program, MuckRock’s Todd Feathers requested a copy the program’s automated logs from 2011 to present.

According to the earlier acquired docs, the automated logging mechanism “captures the date and time of the search, the analyst user ID, and the character search term. The purpose of such searches is to locate a previously issued MMC report.”

Just last month, DHS handed over a redacted copy of the logs. While for the most part, the 91 pages of searches serves as a reminder of public panics from the last three years, both justified and not (remember heartbleed?), some of the searches are a little more … opaque.

For example, you have the bizarre,

to the bizarre but endearing,

to the bizarre and downright terrifying.

You can read the complete list here. If you find anything interesting, or you’re able to shed some light on an obscure query, let us know at