The Washington Free Beacon today reported that the National Institute for Justice (a group under the Justice Department) has awarded Michigan State University $585,719 to study social media use by “far-right” groups. It would be interesting to know how they define ‘far-right’ groups.
The article reports:
“We will collect posts made in four active forums used by members of the far-right and three from the Islamic Extremist community, as well as posts made in Facebook, LiveJournal, Twitter, YouTube, and Pastebin accounts used by members of each movement,” the grant said.
“The findings will be used to document both the prevalence and variation in the ideological content of posts from members of each movement,” the grant continued. “In addition, we will assess the value of these messages in the social status of the individual posting the message and the function of radical messages in the larger on-line identity of participants in extremist communities generally.”
The project will also “identify the hidden networks of individuals who engage in extremist movements based on geographic location and ideological similarities.”
The results will be used for a public webinar, and for presentations for counterterrorism experts in the United States.
Holder highlighted the study in remarks this February at the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, as an example of the new methods the Justice Department is using to combat terrorist threats.
Holder said the study will “help us develop more effective techniques and partnerships for counter-messaging.”
While the grant does not name the “far-right” groups that would be examined, other federal agencies have devoted their energy to the sovereign citizen movement.
As someone who probably belongs to at least one of the groups I suspect is labeled far-right, I would like to save them some trouble and maybe some money.
I use social media to see pictures of my grandchildren. I also use it to play silly games like Candy Crush and Trivia Crack. I use it to keep track of news events in areas I care about–Common Core in North Carolina and in Massachusetts, the statements of various conservative candidates, and activities of local conservative groups. I also love some of the animal pictures that other people post on Facebook and love the posts from the Wildcat Sanctuary. I also appreciate some of the inspirational things my friends post. I also have Democrat friends who post things. That’s their right as much as it is my right–only no one is investigating their social media habits or auditing their tax returns. Now that I have done some of your research for you, can I have part of the grant?
I write this to make a point. Congress is stalled right now on renewing certain aspects of the NSA Surveillance Program. Do you think if the Obama Administration had behaved better in dealing with its political opposition, people might be more inclined to trust the government?