Monday 5 February 2024

Federal Government Gave $5.7 Million Grant To Meedan

 The federal government is providing millions of dollars to a tech nonprofit focused on combating purported “misinformation” by building tiplines for reporting messages in real time.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded tech nonprofit organization Meedan $5.7 million in 2021 to create the Co-Insights project for “combatting hate, abuse and misinformation within minority led partnerships,” government spending data shows.  

One aspect of Co-Insights is building “misinformation tiplines” to give people context about a subject if they request it. The project is designed to track narratives and persistent claims instead of singular pieces of content in the way fact checkers do, the Co-Insights page says. Meedan likens the effort to a spam folder and antivirus software.

Meedan’s primary tool for countering “misinformation” is Check, a service that allows users to report messages to a “fact check” tipline. The interface works across messaging apps and languages. The Shared Feeds feature for Check is being funded by the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, a foundation that funds left-wing environmental and tech groups, according to Influence Watch.

“Meedan’s team is actively countering this challenge by building open-source software that enables local partners to organize and scale collaborative efforts to discover and address that harmful misinformation, particularly in closed messaging spaces during critical public and civic moments,” the organization said in a blog post announcing the McGovern Foundation’s $500,000 grant. 

The McGovern Foundation funded the New Venture Fund, a group linked to the left-wing Arabella Advisors dark money network, and the Tides Foundation, part of the Tides left-wing dark money network. Arabella Advisors funds have sponsored numerous “misinformation” and “disinformation” projects run by third party non-profits and academic research institutions.

report by the Foundation for Freedom Online (FFO) highlighted the NSF grant to Meedan as part of a broader discussion of potential censorship on private messaging platforms.

“Spurred by concerns about the growth of private discussion groups on platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram, the censorship industry has turned to the cultivation of snitches to gain access to U.S. citizens’ private conversations,” FFO said in its report. 

Meedan and PEN America published a report in June on how social media platforms can combat abuse and improve reporting features to reduce the prevalence of abusive language and threats. The Democracy Fund and Craig Newmark Philanthropies, two left-wing non profits, funded the creation of the report, which recommends creating a “dashboard” for reporting through an “identity-aware” lens.

In October 2022, Meedan published a “gendered misinformation” report, and a section of the report covers “misinformation” related to “gender affirming care,” a euphemism used to describe child sex changes and associated healthcare procedures.

Examples of “false” narratives used by Meedan’s report include “Testosterone makes you aggressive” and the permanent changes caused by hormone therapy. In addition, the dangers of puberty blockers and classification of gender dysphoria as a separate mental illness are considered “misinformation narratives” by Meedan. 

Similar reports produced by Meedan address “misinformation” about abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and “online violence” against women in politics.

NSF has poured nearly $40 million into “misinformation” projects during the Biden administration, the Daily Caller News Foundation previously reported. NSF did not respond to a request for comment.

Other government agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Information Security Agency (CISA), the FBI and the State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) have worked with third party organizations and social media platforms to combat perceived “misinformation” surrounding the 2020 and 2022 presidential elections.

Meedan is creating a 2024 U.S. election project to coordinate local efforts to track “misinformation” on messaging apps. Check was previously used during the 2016 presidential election by ProPublica and Google News Lab to track social media reports and text message discussions of voting problems on the state level. Outside the U.S., Meedan has gotten involved with elections in Mexico, France, Brazil, the Philippines and India.

Post a Comment

Start typing and press Enter to search