US spooks are calling for the introduction of sarcasm filters on Twitter because they are fed up with wasting their efforts on those who make ironic comments which sound like terrorism.
Ever since Europe exiled the most humourless of its population, the puritans, to the US the nation has had huge problems with irony and sarcasm. But apparently this is costing US spooks a fortune because they can’t tell if someone really is threatening to murder someone or just being ironic.
Next to US customs and immigration officers it is hard to find a breed of humans with less humour than one of the countries secret service people. We are told that the Taliban weeds out CIA plants by telling gags as a US spook will always take it seriously. Now the US secret service is designing software which might be able to detect sarcasm and false positives, meaning that the system should be able to tell what might have been a bad attempt at humour/sarcasm versus an actual threat or potential threat online.
Speaking to the Washington Post, a spokesman claims that this system will help them gauge their online influence, as well as address complaints that they might receive. The spooks seem to think that by automating its social media monitoring process rather than developing and training a sense of humour they will be able to do things better. Well that is a fairly intelligent approach.