Channel programs News
Hootsuite’s ICE Contract Still Active With Maryland Solution Provider
Joseph F. Kovar
However, given that the actual contract awardee is a solution provider, Rockville, Md.-based FCN, it is not clear the deal was called off despite Hootsuite’s and its CEO’s statements that the company will not work with ICE.
The controversial contract between Hootsuite and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency may not technically be off the table as originally stated by Hootsuite’s CEO.
ICE on Friday told CRN in a statement that the contract has not been cancelled, and separately confirmed that the contractor was FCN, a Rockville, Md.-based solution provider, and not Hootsuite directly.
Hootsuite CEO Tom Keiser on Thursday issued a statement that the Vancouver, British Columbia-based social media management firm will not proceed with a deal with ICE after one of the company’s employees broke the news about a relationship between Hootsuite and ICE because of her concerns about alleged human rights violations cause by ICE in relationship to its treatment of undocumented aliens.
In the contract, which can be read here or here, the Hootsuite deal is being fulfilled by FCN, a woman-owned small business and government-focused solution provider ranked No. 221 on CRN’s 2020 Solution Provider 500 list.
Hootsuite Thursday tweeted that it normally does not make public comments on specific contracts, but in this case confirmed that it has decided not to do business with ICE.
Shortly after, Keiser issued his own statement saying he does not want to see a divided company.
“The decision has created a divided company, and this is not the kind of company I came to lead. I--and the rest of the management team--share the concerns our people have expressed. As a result, we have decided to not proceed with the deal with ICE,” he wrote.
However, in ICE’s Friday statement, an agency spokesperson wrote that the agency recently awarded a contract to a third-party vendor for Hootsuite, a social media management tool.
“The tool will be used by ICE to manage the agency’s social media accounts that help educate the public about the work done every day by our law enforcement officers. At this time, ICE has not received formal notification from the contract awardee that the company is unable to meet the contract requirements. But if true, it’s disappointing that they would not support our workforce that is committed to protecting the homeland; taking gang members, drug traffickers and rapists off the streets; and protecting children from trafficking and exploitation.”
A key point in the ICE statement is, “ICE has not received formal notification from the contract awardee that the company is unable to meet the contract requirements.”
In response to an emailed request for further information from CRN, ICE confirmed that the “contract awardee” is FCN, not Hootsuite.
Neither Hootsuite nor FCN replied to multiple requests from CRN for more information about the contract or whether the deal for deploying Hootsuite software for ICE was still on via FCN despite Hootsuite’s statements otherwise.