The chairman of a powerful committee says the government has no businesses using tax dollars to study political messages on Twitter, which drew applause Thursday from one FCC commissioner.
Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, is looking into a government grant to help fund the 'Truthy' study of how information, and misinformation, is spread on Twitter, including its "abuse" via "astroturfing," or the art of masking political messaging.
“The government has no business using taxpayer dollars to support limiting free speech on Twitter and other social media," said Smith in announcing the inquiry. "While the Science Committee has recently looked into a number of other questionable NSF grants, this one appears to be worse than a simple misuse of public funds. The NSF is out of touch and out of control. The Science Committee is investigating how this grant came to be awarded taxpayer dollars. The NSF must be held accountable for its funding decisions.”
Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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