EFF, a donor-funded non-profit founded to defend consumers' digital freedoms (free speech, privacy, innovation) and educate the press and the public, notes that the FOIA documents reveal two ways government tracks people online. One is to use social networks to investigate citizenship status and another is to analyze social network communications as was done during Obama's inauguration.
DHS established a Social Networking Monitoring Center to mine social networking sites for "items of interest," and outlined its effort in a series of slides. One of the slides emphasized that Personal Identifiable Information (PII) wouldn't be collected or stored, and notes that "openly divulged information excluding PII will be used for future corroboration purposes and trend analysis during the Inauguration period." It is uncertain whether PII was later deleted.
The documents were cause for concern for EFF. "While the slides indicate that DHS scrutinized the information and emphasized the need to look at credible sources, evidence, and corroboration, they also suggest the DHS collected a massive amount of data on individuals and organizations explicitly tied to a political event."