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The Science of Truthiness 180

E IS mC(Square) writes "Researchers at Indiana University have just launched, which they humbly declare 'a sophisticated new Twitter-based research tool that combines data mining, social network analysis and crowdsourcing to uncover deceptive tactics and misinformation leading up to the Nov. 2 elections.' According to their FAQ, they define 'truthy' thus: 'A truthy meme relies on deceptive tactics to represent misinformation as fact. The Truthy system uses Truthy to refer to activities such as political smear campaigns, astroturfing, and other social pollution."
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The Science of Truthiness

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  • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Sunday October 03, 2010 @08:42AM (#33775914) Journal
    They have learned from Fox news not to use day long talking points.
    Undercover, well funded efforts by governments, .coms, .orgs and faith based groups can flood any 'space'.
    A random set of users twisting and distorting, voting down and attacking.
    They will then just drift back down, waiting for the next mission.
    At best you expose 1 ip with a users who has x post over y months.
    They are quickly back with a new ip and 'old' users name even if detected.
    For best results shine light on their masters, infiltrate their funding and hidden support networks, link into their millionaires, billionaires or gov funded ops units.
    They have to spin up links fast on any new issue, that needs a network ;)
  • Benchmarks? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by flyneye ( 84093 ) on Sunday October 03, 2010 @09:16AM (#33776066) Homepage

    And what shall we use to benchmark this tool?
    We have been constantly lied to by both Democrats and Republicans for around a century or so since Wilson and Roosevelt took us into this age of swinging socialism and declared the lie of democracy.
    We are so gullible we have been talked out of rights and into atrocities without even the benefit of reflection of the wrongs done over long periods of time and lies so old no one recalls the truth.
    Suddenly someone finds the "magic 8 ball" algorithm to divine cheese from crap in a world where people pay for imaginary items on Farmville? Let's get hold of ourselves a moment before we get too happy over an erstwhile National Enquirer story.


  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Sunday October 03, 2010 @02:12PM (#33777662)

    "'A truthy meme relies on deceptive tactics to represent misinformation as fact. The Truthy system uses Truthy to refer to activities such as political smear campaigns, astroturfing, and other social pollution.""

    So here of course they are talking about things like the claim Palin said "she could see Russia from her house" (said by Tina Fey playing her), or the notion that Tea Party protestors are racist when in fact they simply represent individuals wanting smaller government that spends less, or the notion that Obama is not a U.S. citizen despite having at least one parent who is so obviously he must be?

    I look forward to what they discover with "science", which must be bipartisanly bad and in that way bad news for Democrats, used to having news flow on their side... but of course the discoveries would never be themselves a kind of astroturfing, unveiling only what they thought would help the right people....

  • Re:"Science"? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 03, 2010 @07:30PM (#33779816)

    Blackstone the magician had a great anecdote about that phenomenon. He was in a church where the reverend was demonstrating powers granted to him through his incredible faith. He was reading letters from his congregation in sealed envelopes without opening them. Congregation members would be astounded by the feat as he read their letter simply by holding it to his forehead. After reading each letter this way, he would open it and scan through it, then move on to the next one. It's a simple magic trick, done by having one audience shill. The reverend would grab the first envelope, hold it to his head, then "read" the contents of a different letter, belonging to the shill. The shill would then tell everyone that what the reverend read was, in fact, the contents of their letter. Then the reverend would open the letter and read and memorize it, then grab another letter, hold it to his head and recite the contents of the last letter. Blackstone, recognizing how the trick was done easily, hopped up and tried to expose the reverend, explaining how it was done. This didn't go over well with the congregation and Blackstone was basically booed out.

    Many people are not objective. Those of us who value objectivity and truth tend to think that people who are being deceived will value an injection of truth and objectivity. But the truth is, many people really are incapable or unwilling to think critically. Due to their difficulties facing reality, they'd rather be made to feel good about themselves instead. Clever manipulators take advantage of that. If you brand the manipulators as liars, people have a choice of discounting your proof, no matter how absolute, or having to face up to the fact that everything their hero has told them is a lie. That may often include all sorts of things about how the deceived are great, terrific people. Better than everyone else in fact. Their dreams will come true if only they believe. Oh, and all their problems stem from external force X (illegal immigration is a popular one lately) which is holding them down and suppressing their natural greatness. Basically, we have a lot of Fox Mulders. They want to believe. Especially when it's good things about themselves. Step on their heroes and you're stepping on their own egos.

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.