By J.D. Heyes
Members of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee have sent a letter to the director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) demanding to know more about the beginnings of a $1 million taxpayer-funded project to track conservative “misinformation” on the Twitter social media site.
Known as “Truthy,” the project is being headed up by researchers at the University of Indiana, and it is currently under probe for alleged one-sided targeting of political commentary on Twitter. As reported by The Washington Free Beacon (WFB):
The project monitors “suspicious memes,” “false and misleading ideas,” and “hate speech,” with a goal of one day being able to automatically detect false rumors on the social media platform.
But what has raised suspicions, especially among conservatives, is the site’s inordinate tracking of conservative-related tweets and hashtags like #tcot (Top Conservatives on Twitter); the combination of such tracking combined with the site’s stated goals of examining hate speech and “false and misleading ideas” set off alarm bells.
The WFB added that the site was “successful in getting accounts associated with conservatives suspended,” at least according to a 2012 book co-written by the project’s lead researcher, Filippo Menczer, a professor of Infomatics and Computer Science at the university.
So, only conservatives use ‘hate speech’ and ‘subversive propaganda’
The project head also said Truthy was used to monitor tweets that used #p2 (Progressive 2.0), but there was no discussion of liberal accounts getting suspended in his tome.
“The Committee and taxpayers deserve to know how NSF decided to award a large grant for a project that proposed to develop standards for online political speech and to apply those standards through development of a website that targeted conservative political comments,” committee chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, wrote in a letter to NSF Director France Cordova.