The 'Truthy' project: We are suspect
The feds, through a National Science Foundation grant to Indiana University, are spending nearly $1 million to create a Twitter-centric “web service that will monitor ‘suspicious memes' and what it considers to be ‘false and misleading ideas,' with a major focus on political activity online,” reports The Washington Free Beacon.
Known as “Truthy,” a name taken from comedian Stephen Colbert, “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 application states.
But with lead investigator Filippo Menczer's proclaimed affinity for Organizing for Action, Moveon.org, Greenpeace and True Majority, objectivity could become the first casualty of this supposedly apolitical “service.”
Will advocacy for free markets and individual liberty be flagged as “false and misleading ideas”?
Will questioning the growing welfare state be flagged as “hate speech”?
Will exposing the unsustainability of “progressivism” be flagged as “subversive propaganda”?
And what will the government do with such information? Will Big Brother be watching you in a new way?
Indeed, “Truthy” could have research value. But if it's garbage that goes in, it will be garbage that comes out. And a prospective tool will become yet another cudgel for the left and a weapon for The State.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- American contrasts: Post-Ferguson
- Thanksgiving briefing ...
- Pittsburgh Tuesday takes
- Saturday essay: Prelude to thanks
- Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances
- The Box
- U.N. Watch: Cheering on Iran
- The turnpike scandal: More wet noodles