Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) will be used by the Federal government to create an online databaseto hunt down the “misinformation” and hate speech on the platform. The National Science Foundation is set to shell out approximately $1 billion on the project. This web service will track the “suspicious memes” and “false and misleading ideas” with more importance to political activity online.
Researcher at the Indiana University created the “Truthy” database to track the political smears, misinformation, and other social pollution. So far, the University has been granted $919,917 for the project.
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The major aim of creating this database from Twitter is to identify the creators of the memes, whether they are professional political activist or regular internet users. According to Truthy “About” page, content spread by the shady machinery of high-profile congressional campaigns is an example of the political daub spreading the misinformation and other social pollution. The core idea of this project would be the identification and containment of such content. Truthy is capable of identifying the false and misleading ideas, hate speech and the dissident propaganda, thereby encouraging open debate.
Open to all
According to the authorities, the project based on Twitter would work in favor of both research community and the public. 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.”
It was also mentioned that the database created using Twitter will be open to all and serve as an exhaustive source of research as predominance of human activity is more online. Also, the open platform would help the public to identify trends, bursts and suspicious memes.
Truthy project is presented as an unbiased approach, but the lead investigator of the project Filippo Menczer is close to various progressive and liberal groups. Menczer has shown his support for Moveon.org, Amnesty International, and President Barack Obama’s Organizing for Action, among other groups. Menczer is a computer science and informatics professor at the Indiana University, and the links of the political and activist groups that are supported by him are posted on the bio-page at the Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research.