American Elephants


The Feds Are Going to Track “Hate Speech” on Twitter! by The Elephant's Child

Just when the news is full of the depredations of the newly-named Islamic State, we learn that our government is creating a database to track “hate speech” on Twitter. The feds will spend nearly $1 million to create an online database that will track “misinformation” and “hate speech” on Twitter.

Watch what you are tweeting, folks. The National Science Foundation is financing the creation of a web service that will monitor “suspicious memes” (of course it would be “memes,” not words or ideas)  and what it considers “false and misleading ideas” with a major focus on political activity online. Sorry, free speech is out. Old fashioned nonsense! What we need is control. No unpleasant words allowed. And don’t go ‘denying’ Global Warming!

The university has so far received $919,917 for the project.

“The project stands to benefit both the research community and the public significantly,” the grant states. “Our data will be made available via [application programming interfaces] APIs and include information on meme propagation networks, statistical data, and relevant user and content features.”

“The open-source platform we develop will be made publicly available and will be extensible to ever more research areas as a greater preponderance of human activities are replicated online,” it continues. “Additionally, we will create a web service open to the public for monitoring trends, bursts, and suspicious memes.”

They are calling it “Truthy” a name from Stephen Colbert. It will attempt to catalog how information is spread (and how to shut it down?). They claim to be completely non-partisan, but suggest that some tweets are engineered by “the shady machinery of high-profile congressional campaigns” according to the website.

“Truthy” claims to be non-partisan. However, the project’s lead investigator Filippo Menczer proclaims his support for numerous progressive advocacy groups, including President Barack Obama’s Organizing for Action, Moveon.org, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, Amnesty International, and True Majority.

Filippo Menczer is a professor of informatics  and computer science at Indiana University. You can tell that the project is completely non-partisan because it would never even occur to any Republican or Conservative to attempt to trace “hate speech” on Twitter. Republicans don’t even believe there is such a thing as “hate speech”, which presumes to read the mind and intent of the speaker, something quite impossible.

Republicans believe in free speech which is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech,” and that even includes political speech, which would suggest that this effort is out of line. The response to nasty speech, which can be distinguished from “hate speech” is Shame.

The government-funded researchers hope the public will use their tool to squeal on other tweeters. They want to know why some “memes” go viral and others don’t. I don’t think it takes $1 million to answer that one.

I find it absolutely astonishing the extent to which Democrats are frightened by those who disagree with them, and struggle to find ways to silence them. But I have a pretty good idea of just why they do it.




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