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H.R. 623 (114th): DHS Social Media Improvement Act of 2015

The text of the bill below is as of Feb 3, 2015 (Referred to Senate Committee).



1st Session

H. R. 623


February 3, 2015

Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs


To amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to authorize the Department of Homeland Security to establish a social media working group, and for other purposes.


Short title

This Act may be cited as the Social Media Working Group Act of 2015.


Social media working group


In general

Title III of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 181 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following new section:


Social media working group



The Secretary shall establish within the Department a social media working group (in this section referred to as the Group).



In order to enhance information sharing between the Department and appropriate stakeholders, the Group shall provide guidance and best practices to the emergency preparedness and response community on the use of social media technologies before, during, and after a terrorist attack or other emergency.




In general

The Under Secretary for Science and Technology shall serve as the permanent chairperson of the Group, and shall designate, on a rotating basis, a representative from a State or local government who is a member of the Group to serve as co-chairperson. The Under Secretary shall establish term limits for individuals appointed to the Group pursuant to paragraph (2). Membership of the Group shall be composed of a cross section of subject matter experts from Federal, State, local, tribal, and nongovernmental organization practitioners, including representatives from the following entities:


The Office of Public Affairs of the Department.


The Office of the Chief Information Officer of the Department.


The Privacy Office of the Department.


The Federal Emergency Management Agency.


The Office of Disability Integration and Coordination of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.


The American Red Cross.


The Forest Service.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


The United States Geological Survey.


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


Additional members

The Under Secretary for Science and Technology shall appoint, on a rotating basis, qualified individuals to the Group. The total number of such additional members shall—


be equal to or greater than the total number of regular members under paragraph (1); and




not fewer than three representatives from the private sector; and


representatives from—


State, local, and tribal entities, including from—


law enforcement;


fire services;


emergency management; and


public health entities;


universities and academia; and


nonprofit disaster relief organizations.


Consultation with non-Members

To the extent practicable, the Group shall work with existing bodies in the public and private sectors to carry out subsection (b).




Initial meeting

Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this section, the Group shall hold its initial meeting. Such initial meeting may be held virtually.


Subsequent meetings

After the initial meeting under paragraph (1), the Group shall meet at least twice each year, or at the call of the Chairperson. Such subsequent meetings may be held virtually.


Nonapplicability of FACA

The Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall not apply to the Group.



Not later than March 30 of each year, the Group shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report that includes the following:


A review of current and emerging social media technologies being used to support preparedness and response activities related to terrorist attacks and other emergencies.


A review of best practices and lessons learned on the use of social media during the response to terrorist attacks and other emergencies that occurred during the period covered by the report at issue.


Recommendations to improve the Department’s use of social media for emergency management purposes.


Recommendations to improve public awareness of the type of information disseminated through social media, and how to access such information, during a terrorist attack or other emergency.


Recommendations to improve information sharing among the Department and its components.


Recommendations to improve information sharing among State and local governments.


A review of available training for Federal, State, local, and tribal officials on the use of social media in response to a terrorist attack or other emergency.


A summary of coordination efforts with the private sector to discuss and resolve legal, operational, technical, privacy, and security concerns.



Clerical amendment

The table of contents in section 1(b) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 317 the following new item:

Sec. 318. Social media working group.


Passed the House of Representatives February 2, 2015.

Karen L. Haas,