Washington, D.C. – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today released the following statement after media reports highlighted a one million dollar research project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2011 to analyze political messages and discussion on Twitter. The goal of the project is to analyze and detect ‘subversive propaganda’ in order to mitigate ‘misleading ideas’ on social media.
Chairman Smith: “The government has no business using taxpayer dollars to support limiting free speech on Twitter and other social media. While the Science Committee has recently looked into a number of other questionable NSF grants, this one appears to be worse than a simple misuse of public funds. The NSF is out of touch and out of control. The Science Committee is investigating how this grant came to be awarded taxpayer dollars. The NSF must be held accountable for its funding decisions.”
Additional Media Coverage:
Washington Post: The government wants to study ‘social pollution’ on Twitter
By Ajit Pai October 17, 2014 - Ajit Pai is a member of the Federal Communications Commission.
If you take to Twitter to express your views on a hot-button issue, does the government have an interest in deciding whether you are spreading “misinformation’’? If you tweet your support for a candidate in the November elections, should taxpayer money be used to monitor your speech and evaluate your “partisanship’’?
My guess is that most Americans would answer those questions with a resounding no. But the federal government seems to disagree. The National Science Foundation , a federal agency whose mission is to “promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity and welfare; and to secure the national defense,” is funding a project to collect and analyze your Twitter data.
The project is being developed by researchers at Indiana University, and its purported aim is to detect what they deem “social pollution” and to study what they call “social epidemics,” including how memes — ideas that spread throughout pop culture — propagate. What types of social pollution are they targeting? “Political smears,” so-called “astroturfing” and other forms of “misinformation.” READ MORE
Fox News: '1984' in 2014? Fed Gov't Funds 'Truthy' Database to Monitor Hate Speech, Suspicious Memes
The federal government is spending close to $1 million of your money on an online tracking program that will supposedly search for so-called “hate speech” or “misinformation” on Twitter.
On Fox and Friends, Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. brought us more details on the “Truthy” database, which intends to monitor suspicious Internet memes as well as false or misleading ideas spreading around social media. READ MORE
Washington Free Beacon: Feds Creating Database to Track ‘Hate Speech’ on Twitter
$1 Million study focuses on internet memes, ‘misinformation’ in political campaigns
By Elizabeth Harrington
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. READ MORE