The FBI have joined forces with the National Science Foundation and invested $1 million dollars into a project aimed at gathering information on people who share anti-governemnt internet meme’s online.
The goals of the project, according to the FBI, are:
“The project is aimed at modeling the diffusion of information online and empirically discriminating among models of mechanisms driving the spread of memes.
We explore why some ideas cause viral explosions while others are quickly forgotten. Our analysis goes beyond the traditional approach of applied epidemic diffusion processes and focuses on cascade size distributions and popularity time series in order to model the agents and processes driving the online diffusion of information, including: users and their topical interests, competition for user attention, and the chronological age of information. Completion of our project will result in a better understanding of information flow and could assist in elucidating the complex mechanisms that underlie a variety of human dynamics and organizations.
The analysis will involve studying meme diffusion in large-scale social media by collecting and analyzing massive streams of public micro-blogging data.