It has been reported that the General Dental Council (GDC) confirmed it does receive social media monitoring reports from an external firm.
GDPUK reported a long-running dispute and Freedom of Information request recently highlighted on Twitter reveals that the GDC DOES monitor social media accounts. GDPUK reported:
The FOI request was made by Leeds-based GDP Dr Dominic O’Hooley in May 2018, but its existence has only recently been spotlighted on Twitter.
Dr O’Hooley had asked the GDC for “All recorded details of your social media monitoring policy with specific regard to how targets are chosen and how access is gained to those subject’s social media accounts.”
Immediately after the regulator denied having a social media monitoring policy, the GDC said in its response to Dr O’Hooley “The Social media monitoring for the GDC is provided via a third party monitoring service which sends the GDC Communications team a report of instances where the GDC is referred to, or engaged with, on social media.”
The response went on “This is designed to provide the opportunity for the GDC to respond, where appropriate, to conversations relating to it.”
The GDC listed some of its social media monitoring search parameters as ‘general dental council,’ ‘generaldentalcouncil,’ ‘gdc,’ ‘dental,’ ‘dentist,’ ‘teeth,’ ‘tooth’, or ‘oral.’ It also Included the search terms ‘GDC_UK’ and the link to the regulator’s own Facebook page.
Dr O’Hooley reportedly asked “Whether the social media monitoring team or other officers of the GDC have been instructed to use fake/proxy profiles for the purpose of gaining access to registered dental professional’s social media postings?”
The GDC replied “Part of the GDC’s role as a regulator is to investigate complaints that we receive about dental professionals’ fitness to practise.”
“Fitness to practise complaints are initiated when the GDC receives information from a complainant.”
“Using fake/proxy profiles for the purpose of gaining access to registered dental professional’s social media postings is not part of the fitness to practise investigatory process.”