Derek Peterson is the new CEO of Digital Fly, a...

Derek Peterson is the new CEO of Digital Fly, a startup that makes software for schools to monitor social media like Instagram and Twitter to track and prevent bullying and potential violence. Credit: David L. Pokress

Digital Fly, a Hauppauge company whose software is designed to give educators, police and parents a window into potential threats such as bullying and violence on social media, has named founder Derek Peterson as chief executive.

Peterson replaced acting chief executive Salvatore Iannuzzi on Sept. 1, the company announced Tuesday. Iannuzzi, former chief executive of Symbol Technologies Inc. and Monster Worldwide Inc., continues as a managing partner.

In a telephone interview, Peterson said that Digital Fly, spun off in May 2015 from Hauppauge-based design company Intelligent Product Solutions, has doubled its head count to 10 employees and now is in use by about 70 school districts, including 14 on Long Island.

Peterson had been working at Digital Fly while also serving as a vice president of business development at IPS, a post he resigned on Aug. 31.

The executive shuffle was required to push growth, he said.

“To drive the company to the next level, we needed to change direction,” Peterson said.

Peterson, who holds bachelor’s degrees in computer science and applied mathematics from Stony Brook University, likened social media to scrawlings on the bathroom wall of a school. Hateful messages might be scrubbed from the wall by a janitor, but on the Internet, “it lives on forever,” he said.

The company’s Fly Paper Engine software analyzes data from social media such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and flags locally produced posts based on keywords and phrases. It seeks to identify comments related to bullying, gun violence and suicide.

Competing products include software by Austin, Texas-based Snap Trends Inc. and Burlington, Vermont-based Social Sentinel Inc.

Digital Fly’s cloud-based software also monitors community sentiment that can offer an indication of support for school budgets or bond issues, Peterson said.

“Superintendents and principals want to know what the chatter is,” he said.

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