US House Science Committee to probe Twitter study

The US House Science Committee has announced a probe into an ambitious study by the Indiana University to collect and analyse 'social pollution' that is spreading on social media like Twitter.

IANS| Updated: Oct 22, 2014, 11:12 AM IST
US House Science Committee to probe Twitter study

Washington: The US House Science Committee has announced a probe into an ambitious study by the Indiana University to collect and analyse 'social pollution' that is spreading on social media like Twitter.

"The government has no business using taxpayer dollars to support limiting free speech on Twitter and other social media," Lamar Smith, chairman of US House Science Committee, said in a statement.

"While the Science Committee has recently looked into a number of other questionable NSF grants, this one appears to be worse than a simple misuse of public funds," The Hill reported him as saying.

The project called 'Truthy' is partially funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

It will study what researchers call social epidemics, including how memes (ideas that spread from person to person within a culture) propagate.

The project aims to use a sophisticated combination of text and data mining, social network analysis, and complex network models to distinguish between good and bad memes.

Researchers, however, denied that their project is meant in any way to suppress free speech.

"Truthy is not intended and is not capable to determine whether a statement constitutes misinformation. The target is the study of the structural patterns of information diffusion," they wrote in a blog post.