According to internal documents reviewed by Vice, the Department of Homeland Security in 2018 sought to develop a method for assigning “risk scores” to social media users, in a program to identify “disinformation” efforts named “Night Fury” by the DHS.
The DHS worked with the University of Alabama to develop the “Night Fury” system, the concept of which bears a striking resemblance to the Chinese “social credit” scores assigned to citizens to measure their compliance with the regime.
Vice began its investigation in order to learn more about Custom and Border Protection (CBP)’s efforts to learn more about arrivals at the border, but seem to have stumbled across a key part of the government’s sprawling social media censorship machine in the process.
“The Contractor shall develop these attributes to create a methodology for developing a ranking, or ‘Risk Score,’ associated with the identified accounts. The Contractor shall develop tools to automate the identification process, documenting performance measures and metrics related to automating the identification process,” one of the documents reads. DHS said it stopped work on the project in 2019.
The news signals DHS’ continued focus on analyzing social media for a variety of purposes. These new documents come after Motherboard reported Customs and Border Protection (CBP) was using an AI-powered tool called Babel X to analyze travelers’ social media at the U.S. border.
According to the documents reviewed by Vice, the DHS ceased the program in 2019. But elsewhere, the government’s efforts to address “disinformation” on social media — a priority that only rose to the fore after the election of Donald Trump — proliferated.
By the 2020 election, a vast network of censors had sprung up, encompassing deep state agencies, NGOs, academics, journalists, and the silicon valley tech giants themselves. This “censorship-industrial complex” virtually erased any semblance of free speech on social media during the 2020 election and beyond.
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.