The Government Wants To Censor Social Media By Studying ‘Social Pollution’ On Twitter

Twitter

Months after the Federal Communications Commission was forced to withdraw a newsroom study many viewed as an attempt to censor the media, the government is making a second attempt by studying “social pollution” on Twitter, and engaging in a free-speech analysis one FCC commissioner described as “straight out of a George Orwell novel.”

The National Science Foundation — the federal agency charged with promoting science, advancing welfare and securing national defense — is funding said study by researchers at Indiana University, who will mine Twitter data and categorize users’ politically related tweets into convenient government definitions of “social pollution,” “social epidemics” and “misinformation.”

Two of those same researchers, Filippo Menczer and Alessandro Flammini, co-authored a paper in 2012 examining social media use during the 2010 midterm election, which focused on “right-leaning Twitter users” who exhibited “greater levels of political activity, a more tightly interconnected social structure, and a communication network topology that facilitates the rapid and broad dissemination of political information.”

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