Previously we noted the concerns over federal funding for study of social networking and internet memes. The concern expressed at that time was simple. Quoting the article:
The Truthy team says this research could be used to “mitigate the diffusion of false and misleading ideas, detect hate speech and subversive propaganda, and assist in the preservation of open debate.”
Federal creation of tools for tracking so-called hate speech or propaganda is the necessary first step to the control of speech and propaganda, and some feel that the government simply should not be playing in that space (though it isn’t like there aren’t many private studies actively moving forward in this area.)
That message obviously struck a nerve, as a collection of top computer science and industry groups quickly rallied to defend the funding of the Truthy project, run by a principle investigator who, in his off-campus personae, comfortably pattern matches as a left wing extremist who is concerned about finding ways to clamp down on hate speech, which by his definition includes conservative commentary.