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posted by n1 on Tuesday August 26 2014, @04:48PM   Printer-friendly
from the most-of-twitter-to-be-flagged dept.

The National Science Foundation is funding the “Truthy” database, intended to detect “false and misleading ideas,” "political smears," and other "social pollution” in online political activity. Researchers at Indiana University have received $919,917 (so far) for this project. The resulting open-source platform will be made publicly available, including via a web service open to the public for "monitoring trends, bursts, and suspicious memes.”

According to the grant, “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."

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  • (Score: 2) by edIII on Tuesday August 26 2014, @11:34PM

    by edIII (791) on Tuesday August 26 2014, @11:34PM (#85974)

    To me, reducing information asymmtry is the next best thing to shutting down the surveillance state (which should still be top priority)

    I'm in complete agreement. At the same time though, I'm extremely suspicious of any kind of Big Data project to develop new tools. That's essentially what this is, a new tool to analyze all the user generated content.

    Who is using the tool?

    Forgive my cynicism but when this is offered as a "service" the last person I see paying for and using it is someone with the interests of the people and common man at heart.

    Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
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  • (Score: 1) by JNCF on Wednesday August 27 2014, @02:23AM

    by JNCF (4317) on Wednesday August 27 2014, @02:23AM (#86019) Journal

    I understand your cynicism, I just think it might be misplaced. Maybe you should worry about the fact that the federal government is sponsoring this, and ask why. But concern that this is a service that will be offered to a select few at a price seems to go against the wording of the grant funding the project. From TFA:

    “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.”

    Maybe I'm being too hopeful, but it sounds like this is an awesome open-source data mining tool that could potentially be used to spot the sock-puppets of nefarious governments and corporations.