$1M Grant Dedicated to Researching Memes
As an unusual research project reaches maturity, those whose tricks it exposes get angry
Why do some memes flourish while others falter? How are memes spread? Which ones can be said to be a product of authentic culture, and which might be suspiciously forced? And on that note, how can you make ‘fetch’ happen? A National Science Foundation grant of almost $1 million was awarded four years ago to an Indiana University project called Truthy, which hopes to use Twitter to study the science of Internet popularity as well as root out “political smears, astroturfing, misinformation, and other social pollution.” Now that the project is achieving maturity, it is receiving media attention as – ironically – it has been the target of a disinformation campaign by Fox News.