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Feds Using AI Technology Used to Fight ISIS to Censor Americans on Vaccines, Election on Social Media


The United States government's campaign to fight "misinformation" has expanded to use military-grade artificial intelligence, once used to stop the Islamic State (ISIS), to identify and censor American dissent on controversial issues like vaccine safety and election integrity, according to an investigation by Foundation for Freedom Online.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded several million dollars in grants to universities and private firms to develop tools similar to those in 2011 by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in its Social Media in Strategic Communication (SMISC) program.

According to reports, DARPA said the tools helped the agency "identify misinformation or deception campaigns and counter them with truthful information," beginning with the Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East that led to the rise of Islamic militants.

At first, the idea was to track dissidents interested in toppling American-friendly regimes or potential radical threats by examining political posts on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and other sites.

One of the goals DARPA outlined for this program included officials being able to "detect, classify, measure and track the (a) formation, development and spread of ideas and concepts (memes), and (b) purposeful or deceptive messaging and misinformation.

Another goal set forth by the agency was to "recognize persuasion campaign structures and influence operations across social media sites and communities."

Officials were also assigned to "identify participants and intent, and measure effects of persuasion campaigns."

The fourth and final goal of the agency was to "counter messaging of detected adversary influence operations."

According to reports, the new Convergence Accelerator project came from the National Science Foundation and was created under the Trump administration to tackle issues like quantum technology.

After the 2020 election, the Biden administration took the existing infrastructure and lumped the problem of what users were saying on social media with quantum technology.

Speaking to Just the News, Mike Benz, executive director of the Foundation for Freedom Online, who compiled a report explaining that a disturbing aspect of the Convergence Accelerator Track F domestic censorship project was how similar they were to "military-grade social media network censorship and monitoring tools developed by the Pentagon for the counterinsurgency and counterterrorism contexts abroad,” explained that the new project created the track F program, which stipulated that if "trust in the government or trust in the media cannot be earned it must be installed."

"They are funding artificial intelligence, censorship capacities, to censor people who distrust government or media," Benz said to Just the News.

"DARPA's been funding an AI network using the science of social media mapping dating back to at least 2011-2012, during the Arab Spring abroad and the Occupy Wall Street movement here at home," Benz said.

"They then bolstered it during the time of ISIS to identify homegrown ISIS threats in 2014-2015."

Benz explained how this was "redirected inward during 2016" when officials viewed domestic populism as a foreign national security threat in America.

"What you've seen is a grafting on of these concepts of mis- and disinformation that were escalated to such high-intensity levels in the news over the past several years being converted into a tangible, formal government program to fund and accelerate the science of censorship," Benz said.

According to Benz, to sponsor this effort, taxpayer funds go to universities and NGOs through grant awards to develop censorship technology where universities or nonprofits share those tools with news media fact-checks.

These universities and nonprofits assist private sector tech platforms like Facebook, Meta, Twitter, and other platforms and tool developers to refine the tools for online censorship.

One academic university that has received such funds includes the University of Wisconsin, which received a $5 million grant last year for researchers to develop its Course Correct program.

Other colleges and universities that have received grants from the National Science Foundation since 2021 for censorship include the University of Southern California (USC), UC Irvine (UCI), University of Washington, MIT, Bowdoin College, Washington State University, Wesleyan University, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and many others.

According to the press release from the University of Wisconsin’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, the program was a "precision tool providing journalists with guidance against misinformation."

Private companies like WiseDex, received grants from the Convergence Accelerator Track F, acknowledging its efforts to build AI tools to allow content moderators at social media sites the ability to regulate speech.

According to reports, these companies compile massive databases of banned keywords and claims that they sell to platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Meta.

National media members and fact-checkers are arbiters dictating what is acceptable to post and what is not by specifically flagging content for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and issuing complaints against different conversations.

According to Benz, topics like COVID and the 2020 election faced censorship in the name of public health concerns.

Related Story: 5 Things to Know About the DHS Censorship Agency’s “Misinformation” Campaigns

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