Project ‘Truthy’ to Evaluate Social Pollution and Memes on Social Media

Project ‘Truthy’ to Evaluate Social Pollution and Memes on Social Media

It has been reported that researchers at the Indiana University in the US are working on a project to gather and analyze data on 'social pollution' that is spreading on social media like Twitter.

The project titled 'Truthy' is funded by the US National Science Foundation. The project is named after a term coined by TV host Stephen Colbert.

Washington Post reported that the project aims to study 'social epidemics' and it will also study how memes (ideas that spread from person to person within a culture) spreads.

In its study, researchers will majorly focus on 'political smears', 'astroturfing' and several other forms of 'misinformation' prevalent on social media.

In order to differentiate between good and bad memes, researchers will be using a sophisticated combination of text and data mining, social network analysis, and complex network models.

The project 'Truthy' will also be evaluating whether accounts on socials media are expressing positive or negative sentiments towards memes.

Apart from this, the project in particular will also focus on political speech. It will keep a record of Twitter accounts that are using hashtags such as #teaparty and #dems.

Researchers in a statements said that the study can also help to lessen the dispersal of false and misleading ideas and can also detect hate speech.

The Truthy team said, "mitigate the diffusion of false and misleading ideas, detect hate speech and subversive propaganda, and assist in the preservation of open debate".

It has been found that the US National Science Foundation has already granted a sum of $1 million for the project.

Truthy is very much like the study funded by Federal Communications Commission, which was aimed to examine whether news outlets in the country were meeting the 'critical information needs' of the American population. Under this study, the researchers were assigned the task to ask the editors and reporters the questions about their news philosophy and editorial judgment.

But once Americans became aware about the study, a number of protests from across the political sector emerged, which forced FCC to scrap the project.

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