House Report Reveals Biden Administration’s Efforts to Conceal Spending on Misinformation Research

President Joe Biden’s administration reportedly considered hiding its expenditure on research aimed at countering online “misinformation” following revelations by the Daily Caller News Foundation, as outlined in a House Judiciary Committee report published on Tuesday.

According to the DCNF’s reporting on February 19, 2023, Biden’s National Science Foundation (NSF) received funds for “misinformation” research under a plan called “Track F,” with videos of the agency’s efforts linked in the report. NSF program manager Michael Pozmantier’s email, captured in a screenshot, indicated plans to swiftly remove or restrict access to these videos the next day.

Since Biden’s inauguration, the NSF has allocated $38.8 million to research initiatives combating “misinformation” by November 2022, the Foundation for Freedom Online (FFO) reported, cited by the DCNF. However, further grants were awarded post-FFO report, primarily under the “Convergence Accelerator Track F: Trust & Authenticity in Communication Systems” or “Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC)” categories.

The House Judiciary Committee report contends that these taxpayer-funded projects aim to develop AI-powered censorship and propaganda tools for governments and Big Tech to influence public opinion by restricting or promoting viewpoints.

For instance, the University of Houston received a $50,000 grant from NSF in December 2022 to establish a “social media misinformation interactive dashboard” forecasting trends to address misinformation. Additionally, Syracuse University secured a $495,478 grant in July 2019 to study the “online dynamics of misinformation,” focusing on how it integrates into online narratives and how design can impact this process.

Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology informed NSF that certain demographics, including rural and indigenous communities, military veterans, older adults, and military families, struggle to discern truth from fiction online. As a result, NSF allocated $750,000 to MIT-led researchers to develop propaganda tools aimed at educating these vulnerable groups about “misinformation campaigns.”

A spokesperson for NSF denied engagement in censorship, stating investments in research help understand communication technologies like deep fakes. The spokesperson emphasized providing policymakers with insights to make informed decisions about regulations and protections.

The House Judiciary Committee report alleges that NSF sought to conceal its initiatives, even considering a media strategy and compiling a list of conservative media outlets to avoid correspondence.