Super: Federal grant funds plan to detect “misinformation,” “hate speech” on social media

posted at 10:01 pm on August 25, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham

Well, this sounds interesting and probably sinister and open to manipulation:

The federal government is spending nearly $1 million to create an online database that will track “misinformation” and hate speech on Twitter.

The National Science Foundation is financing the creation of a web service that will monitor “suspicious memes” and what it considers “false and misleading ideas,” with a major focus on political activity online.

The “Truthy” database, created by researchers at Indiana University, is designed to “detect political smears, astroturfing, misinformation, and other social pollution.”

The university has received $919,917 so far for the project.

“The project stands to benefit both the research community and the public significantly,” the grant states. “Our data will be made available via [application programming interfaces] APIs and include information on meme propagation networks, statistical data, and relevant user and content features.”

“The open-source platform we develop will be made publicly available and will be extensible to ever more research areas as a greater preponderance of human activities are replicated online,” it continues. “Additionally, we will create a web service open to the public for monitoring trends, bursts, and suspicious memes.”

“This service could mitigate the diffusion of false and misleading ideas, detect hate speech and subversive propaganda, and assist in the preservation of open debate,” the grant said.

“Truthy,” which gets its name from Stephen Colbert, will catalog how information is spread on Twitter, including political campaigns.

I’m all in favor of data projects that give us a better understanding of how information spreads online, but I’d rather it not be publicly funded and therefore funneled through the very entity that might have a grand, political stake in, and the ability to prosecute or persecute, what amounts to “hate speech” or “misinformation.”

The best we can hope for, I’d imagine, is a bunch of slobbering media coverage of the suspiciously partisan conclusions of this study— “Right wingers create all misinformation, study shows.” We can pray for no legislation or legal action against those who violate the study’s conclusions.

We’ve been down this road before, only more blatantly directed straight from the White House, on Obamacare. Report your fishy neighbors!

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Bmore on August 26, 2014 at 11:34 AM

Federal grant funds plan to detect “misinformation,” “hate speech” on social media

So we may expect a major purge of and, and assorted Obama-centric, conservative-hating, anti-American web sites?


landlines on August 26, 2014 at 12:52 PM

I’m all in favor of PRIVATELY FUNDED
data projects that give us a better understanding of how information spreads online…

I know that’s what you meant.

Akzed on August 26, 2014 at 10:08 AM

I prefer the Nielsen approach…you know, where they actually ask folks to basically spy on them and only for what they say?

Also, I don’t think this NSA data mining is going on to simply ferret out TEA Party activists and the like…this info has to be making a ton of money for various private concerns out there-they can never get enough marketing data.

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 26, 2014 at 4:37 PM


Sounds to me like this is a slightly less direct, but vastly more sinister version of the old “Snitch Central” that was launched back in August of ’09 by Obama’s first White House Director of Communications, the Mao-loving, Ms Anita Dunn.

Remember when she fronted former ABC operative and WH “eat-your-peas” scold, Linda Douglass, to be the Director of the White House’s Health Reform Office? Douglass promptly took to YouTube to signal Americans that they should start turning in (via email to the White House) anyone who was spreading disinformation about the healthcare reform monstrosity then wending it’s ugly way through Congress.

The post they actually put up on their WH website to encourage snitching on one’s neighbors, was risibly entitled, “Facts Are Stubborn Things”, quoting our second President.

It was more like shades of “The Whisperers,” and the possible reincarnation of Sheptun briefly stirred D.C.

Yep. You know the old bromide, “You can’t make this stuff up?” Well, with the Obama Administration, they were proving that’s not necessary — they’ll eagerly make it up for you!

And just in case you’d forgotten what a ridiculous bunch of lousy liars they all were, and still are, below is a direct quote from that website, which is still posted to this day, by the way!

Even when they were caught in a “4 Pinocchio’s” whopper by no less a friendly outfit that the Washington Post, they still didn’t bother to go back and correct the record.

Check it out for yourself!

“For the record, the President has consistently said that if you like your insurance plan, your doctor, or both, you will be able to keep them.”


Now, of course, they’ve decided to turn the issue of identifying and “outing” truth or falsity over to the “National Science Foundation” via the creation of a truth detection website?

Gee, what could possibly go wrong . . . to repeat another thoroughly modern bromide!

Trochilus on August 26, 2014 at 5:03 PM

‘Hate speech and misinformation.’

That covers just about any Obama public pronouncement.

locomotivebreath1901 on August 27, 2014 at 1:04 PM