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.