A team of four informatics and computing professors from Indiana University who established the Truthy website received a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant of $905,000 to broaden its analysis of the public data stream from social networks. The team gained national attention last year after they established the website, which identified political astroturfing on Twitter. The researchers eventually plan to create and maintain a web service that allows people to follow trends, bursts and suspicious memes based on the stream of information from large-scale social networks.
The IU researchers want to create commonly accepted, detailed, and empirically validated mathematical models that can reliably predict the size and scope of specific diffusion processes, and hope to do so by expanding their studies on how and why information spreads online. They anticipate that conclusions can be drawn from the information diffusion process based on the community structure of online users, the network topology, occurrence with other memes, and the appearance of certain semantic or affective features.