The Bureau is asking companies to build software that can effectively scan social media online for significant words, phrases and behavior so that agents can respond.
A paper posted on the FBI website asks for companies to build programs that will map sentiment and wrongdoing.
Although the software would only be able to look at information already in the public domain, free speech campaigners have raised concerns.
Jennifer Lynch, from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told New Scientist that it could erode the sense of freedom provided by the internet. “These tools that mine open source data, and presumably store it for a very long time, do away with that kind of privacy. I worry about the effect of that on free speech in the US,” she said.