What do you get when you cross $5 million with a gaggle of activists disguised as journalists? Apparently, you get a brand spanking new government-funded initiative to transform everyday Americans into flesh-and-blood bots whose mission is to root out misinformation on the internet.
This is precisely the initiative the Biden administration is undertaking ostensibly to make it easier for folks to identify and combat deceptive narratives being spread on social media platforms and other dark and seedy corners of the internet. But, as always, the question is: What is the real endgame here?
Government Paying Big Bucks to Fight Misinformation
The federal government has awarded $5 million to Hacks/Hackers, a group of alleged journalists, to create software intended to persuade Americans to push back on friends, family, and other members of their communities who are supposedly spreading “harmful” information online. If successful, this program will help these intrepid fighters of fanciful falsehoods “correct misinformation” by responding to these posts with text that the technology recommends.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is the agency that provided the grant to the group to develop the “Analysis and Response Toolkit for Trust (ARTT).” The group said on its website that this program is designed to “provide guidance and encouragement to individuals and communities as they address contentious or difficult topics online.”
Connie Moon Sehat, an ARTT Principal Investigator, said:
“Motivated citizens strive to provide their communities with reliable information. While research shows their work is crucial for countering misinformation, the challenge is overwhelming. The ARTT Guide tool will support these citizens by providing easy access to accurate information, tips for effective and trust-building conversations, and encouragement of their efforts.”
The toolkit will feature “guided responses” that are “sourced from the latest research in psychology, conflict resolution, media literacy, and other fields,” according to Amy X. Zhang, principal investigator, who is also working on the project. ARTT will “offer suggestions on how to best correct information” and “give users guidance on other response possibilities,” including strategies to “co-verify,” “de-escalate” and “encourage healthy skepticism,” among other techniques.
The tool will eventually cover a wide variety of subjects. But in its initial iteration, Hacks/Hackers is focusing on the COVID-19 vaccine. Supposedly, the software will help people root out misinformation related to the pandemic to hinder those who dare to question the Democrat-approved narrative on the matter. The ARTT tool is expected to be released to the public in August 2024.
As you might imagine, not everyone is excited about this new way to supposedly combat misinformation. Curtis Houck with the Media Research Center told the Daily Wire that those behind this initiative “want to remove dissenting views from the internet and leave the rest in a state of reprogramming” and that they are “hell-bent on creating manufactured consensus.”
It is difficult to view this “tool” as anything other than what Houck indicated. The past five years have shown that many of those involved in projects such as these are less concerned with rooting out false information than with shaping people’s opinions on important issues. In many of these situations, the project is decidedly skewed in favor of leftist ideas and viewpoints.
Members of the activist media have been bandying about the word “misinformation” ad nauseum ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began. They used it as a pretext to shut down folks expressing opinions on the coronavirus and vaccines on social media outlets. Now, it appears they seek to condition people to parrot their narratives – essentially doing the press’ work for them.
This is likely one of several strategies funded by the federal government to influence people’s political opinions. Until there is new leadership in the executive branch, these initiatives will continue their efforts at taxpayer expense.
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