| Opinion/The Review

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

The 'Truthy' project: We are suspect

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Letters home ...

Traveling abroad for personal, educational or professional reasons?

Why not share your impressions — and those of residents of foreign countries about the United States — with Trib readers in 150 words?

The world's a big place. Bring it home with Letters Home.

Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or

Daily Photo Galleries

Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

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,, 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.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Editorials

  1. Keep asking questions
  2. The Thursday wrap
  3. Renewable energy
  4. The language of America: Tongue of success
  5. Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances
  6. Liquidate the Export-Import Bank
  7. Tracking cellphones: Warrants, first
  8. Secret Service scandal
  9. How to counter Putin in Syria
  10. Alle-Kiski Tuesday takes
  11. Pittsburgh Tuesday takes