SAN FRANCISCO (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — The FBI could find itself in a face-off with Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies over privacy, after the agency began soliciting proposals from outside vendors to monitor social media for potential threats.

Last month, the FBI said it is soliciting proposals for a social media “early alerting tool” in order to identify possible threats while making sure that privacy and civil liberties considerations are taken into account. Such a tool would likely violate the companies’ ban against using their data for surveillance.

A man holds a smart phone with the icons for the social networking apps Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. (credit: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images)

The contract solicitation and the potential clash was first reported by The Wall Street Journal on Thursday. It was posted before the most recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton once again prompted calls for social media companies to do more to detect such threats.

Facebook declined to comment. Twitter also wouldn’t comment on the report but pointed to its policies prohibiting the use of its data for surveillance purposes, even if such data is public.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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