State Department trims several uses from public AI inventory

Deletions include a Facebook ad system used for collecting media clips and behavioral analytics for online surveys.
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: The U.S. Department of State is seen on January 6, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The Department of State recently removed several items from its public artificial intelligence use case inventory, including a behavioral analytics system and tools to collect and analyze media clips.

In total, the department removed nine items from its website — several of which appeared to be identical use cases listed under two different agencies — and changed the bureau for a handful of the remaining items. The State Department didn’t provide a response to FedScoop’s requests for comment on why those uses were removed or changed.

The deletions came roughly a week after the Office of Management and Budget released draft guidance for 2024 inventories that says, among many other requirements, that agencies “must not remove retired or decommissioned use cases that were included in prior inventories, but instead mark them as no longer in use.” OMB has previously stated that agencies “are responsible for maintaining the accuracy of their inventories.”

AI use case inventories — which are public, annual disclosures first required by a Trump-era executive order — have so far lacked consistency. Other agencies have also made changes to their inventories outside the annual schedule, including the Department of Transportation and the Department of Homeland Security. OMB’s recent draft guidance and memo on AI governance seek to enhance and expand what is reported in those disclosures.


OMB declined to comment on the removals or whether it’s given agencies guidance on deleting items in their current inventories.

Notably, the department removed a use case titled “forecasting,” which was a pilot using statistical models to forecast outcomes that the agency told FedScoop last year it had shuttered. The description for the use case stated that it had been “applied to COVID cases as well as violent events in relation to tweets.” 

Several of the other deleted State Department uses were related to media and digital content. 

For example, the agency removed the disclosure of a “Facebook Ad Test Optimization System” that it said was used to collect media clips from around the world, a “Global Audience Segmentation Framework” it reported using to analyze “media clips reports” from embassy public affairs sections, and a “Machine-Learning Assisted Measurement and Evaluation of Public Outreach” that it said was used for “collecting, analyzing, and summarizing the global digital content footprint of the Department.” 

State also removed its disclosure of “Behavioral Analytics for Online Surveys Test (Makor Analytics),” which the agency said was a pilot that “aims to provide additional information beyond self-reported data that reflects sentiment analysis in the country of interest.” That use case had been listed under the Bureau of Information Resource Management and the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Both references were removed.


Two of the removed items had been listed under two agencies but had only one disclosure removed: an AI tool for “identifying similar terms and phrases based off a root word” and a use for “optical character recognition and natural language processing on Department cables.”

Another removed use was for a “Verified Imagery Pilot Project” by the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations. That pilot tested “how the use of a technology service, Sealr, could verify the delivery of foreign assistance to conflict-affected areas where neither” the department nor its “implementing partner could go.”

While the use case inventory was trimmed down, the department also appears to be adding uses of AI to its operations. State Chief Information Officer Kelly Fletcher recently announced that the department was launching an internal AI chatbot to help with things like translation after staff requested such a tool. 

Rebecca Heilweil and Caroline Nihill contributed to this report.

Madison Alder

Written by Madison Alder

Madison Alder is a reporter for FedScoop in Washington, D.C., covering government technology. Her reporting has included tracking government uses of artificial intelligence and monitoring changes in federal contracting. She’s broadly interested in issues involving health, law, and data. Before joining FedScoop, Madison was a reporter at Bloomberg Law where she covered several beats, including the federal judiciary, health policy, and employee benefits. A west-coaster at heart, Madison is originally from Seattle and is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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