Consumer Protection Bulletin: using social media to inform consumer protection

18 May 2017 News Categories


  • Central Bank gathers information through social media monitoring to better protect consumers
  • Social media provides a valuable source of information for risk analysis, policy formulation and supervision of firms
  • Bulletin outlines key data gathered through social media monitoring by Central Bank

The Central Bank of Ireland today publishes its sixth Consumer Protection Bulletin, which describes how, since 2013, the Central Bank has used social media monitoring to inform its consumer protection work. Social media monitoring provides the Central Bank with a powerful tool to understand consumers’ experiences and concerns around financial services and products in real-time. This informs the Central Bank’s analysis and its engagement with individual firms.

The Central Bank monitors publicly available social media platforms, blogs and online content such as webpages and forums.

The Central Bank’s monitoring of social media shows:

  • In the second half of 2016, the Central Bank observed a total of 3,716 online mentions relating to financial products and services in Ireland – an average of 143 mentions per week.
  • 84% of these mentions expressed dissatisfaction.
  • Account administration was the most common cause of mentions expressing dissatisfaction (69.1%) followed by customer service (12.7%) and fees and charges (9.4%).
  • The banking sector represented 98.2% of mentions expressing dissatisfaction.
  • Most mentions not related to dissatisfaction, concerned technological developments (FinTech) in payment services (47.2%), followed by mentions concerning banking products and providers (25.3%), and those related to Bitcoin/Blockchain (15.5%).

Social media monitoring provides the Central Bank with a valuable source of real-time information for risk analysis and policy formulation. It also supports our supervision of individual firms, where it has been used to challenge firms on live consumer concerns and provided a basis for public warnings (e.g. of unauthorised activity).


This is the Central Bank’s sixth Consumer Protection Bulletin covering different aspects of the Irish financial services market. The Consumer Protection Bulletins have been developed as part of a commitment (first outlined in the Consumer Protection Outlook Report 2015) to gather and monitor market intelligence and data returns from regulated firms. Further bulletins will be published periodically.