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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.”
One G-man’s “social pollution” is another free man’s First Amendment right. The very term sounds like something out of a 1920s Italian fascist tract. And why is the federal government even deciding which ideas are “false and misleading,” let alone tracking them?
According to the project’s grant, the service “could mitigate the diffusion of false and misleading ideas, detect hate speech and subversive propaganda, and assist in the preservation of open debate.”
In 2004, dissent was “the highest form of patriotism.” A decade later, it’s called “subversive propaganda” and categorized as the lowest form of treason. Truthy would add a button to Twitter so that people could report their neighbors and family members for Thoughtcrime against the State.
Filippo Menczer (who sounds like an author of that 1920s Italian fascist tract) is Truthy’s lead investigator and closely affiliated with “non-partisan” groups like President Obama’s Organizing for Action, Moveon.org and Greenpeace. The software’s very name comes from ardent conservative hater Stephen Colbert.
It’s hard to denounce the more paranoid allegations of Obama’s opponents when his administration routinely goes beyond their wildest imaginings.