Thought Police alert: federal government dedicates $1 million to wage a war on memes

Originally posted here.

It’s never too late to wage a war on something you deem terrifying – if you’re the government. A recent report has highlighted the obvious: Washington has no idea of what to do with all the easy taxpayer cash it has access to.

It’s almost as if bureaucrats aren’t good at spending your money wisely!

According to The Week, the federal government is using a grant offered to the National Science Foundation to target memes. That’s right; Washington has used about $1 million of your money to finance a database of memes they deem suspicious. Officials, following instructions that tell them to single out any “suspicious memes” or any “false and misleading” political ideas that may have turned into memes, hunt for these images by browsing through social media websites.

The Indiana University is the official headquarters for the special “war on memes” department. The official title of the program is “Truthy.” It’s reportedly inspired on Stephen Colbert’s “truthiness” concept.

And what do officials do while browsing for potentially life-threatening memes?

They look for the origin of the memes so they may identify the source as a professional political activist or just a good old Internet user like you, for an instance.

While the program seems harmless enough on the surface, one million dollars thrown at an effort to catalog memes and identify their sources so that the federal government can put up a web service offering the public info on suspicious meme trends seems eerily close to what a thought police would look like. Or am I just seeing things here?

According to the National Science Foundation, the service “could mitigate the diffusion of false and misleading ideas, detect hate speech and subversive propaganda, and assist in the preservation of an open debate.”

Right.

Could this be another way the government has found to target political dissent? I’ll leave the answer up to you.

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