August 26, 2014

Gov’t Gives $1M to Identify ‘Political Smears’ on Twitter

The federal government gave the University of Indiana nearly $1 million to develop a database that will identify less-than-perfectly-truthful speech on Twitter. The objective of the program, called Truthy, is “to detect political smears, astroturfing, misinformation, and other social pollution. While the vast majority of memes arise in a perfectly organic manner, driven by the complex mechanisms of life on the Web, some are engineered by the shady machinery of high-profile congressional campaigns. Truthy uses a sophisticated combination of text and data mining, social network analysis, and complex networks models.” The Internet is an echo chamber full of half-truth, exaggeration and supposition, but is the truth as defined by the researchers at University of Indiana tainted by bias? The lead researcher is a known progressive, according to The Washington Free Beacon. This program may become a gate through which speech must pass. More…

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