Politics

Meedan Views Distrusting Mainstream Media As ‘Misinformation,’ Report Finds

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

James Lynch Investigative Reporter
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A technology non-profit being bankrolled by the federal government believes skepticism of the mainstream media is an example of “misinformation” being spread online, according to a new congressional report.

Meedan, a tech profit backed by a $5.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), delivered a presentation where it pointed to distrust of the mainstream media as an example of a “misinformation narrative,” according to a report from the House Judiciary Committee and its Select Subcommittee on Weaponization. (RELATED: DCNF Reporter Reveals How Biden Admin Is Quietly Funding A ‘Censorship Industrial Complex’ In Congressional Testimony)

READ THE REPORT:

The NSF is funding Meedan’s Co-Insights project with the goal of combatting the supposed spread of “misinformation” in minority communities.

Meedan pitched the NSF on giving an additional $5 million of taxpayer dollars to Co-Insights, and its team listed “common misinformation narratives” such as “Fearmongering and anti-Black narratives” and “undermining trust in mainstream media,” slides shared in the House report show.

The nonprofit’s long term goal is for technology platforms to generate a database of censored content for “misinformation” researchers to use to automatically censor certain forms of speech, Meedan’s Director of Research Scott Hale said in a November 2022 email.

“In my dream world, social media platforms would put all the content they take down into a data enclave that researchers could run code against to produce aggregate analyses and benchmark different automated detection approaches without ever having direct access to the data,” Hale told an NSF official. Meedan did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.

The pair discussed the NSF’s relationship with “Storytell,” a Google Chrome extension capable of using artificial intelligence to generate automatic summaries of webpages, because of the possibility Storytell could be deployed for “content moderation” purposes.

The Weaponization Subcommittee held a hearing Tuesday on the NSF funding a network of third parties in the “misinformation” space and reportedly attempting to cover it up after scrutiny from the Daily Caller News Foundation and other publications.

The NSF report also contains email communications that appear to show the NSF considering a plan to remove videos and potentially create a blacklist of conservative media outlets in response to coverage of its grants towards “misinformation” research.

House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan subpoenaed the NSF following the Tuesday hearing to obtain more information on the extent to which the NSF worked with third parties and social media platforms to censor speech online.

“NSF does not engage in censorship and has no role in content policies or regulations. Per statute and guidance from Congress, we have made investments in research to help understand communications technologies that allow for things like deep fakes and how people interact with them. By understanding how they operate and are being used, we can provide policymakers with the information they need to make informed decisions about regulations and guardrails to protect the public and ensure they can make informed decisions,” an NSF spokesperson told the Caller.

“NSF did not at any point attempt to conceal or mislead the public, Congress, or the media about its Track F Program or any of its other investments. The ‘media strategy’ referenced in the committee’s report runs counter to the official NSF Media Policy and is not being used by NSF. NSF continues to prioritize outreach and transparency to the entire American public so they can see firsthand how that investment has improved their everyday lives and will continue to produce impacts that strengthen our economy and security for decades to come,” the spokesperson added.

“NSF has been working with the House Judiciary Committee to address their concerns and will continue to do so on the requests outlined in this report.”