NIH commits $5 million to ‘mine’ Facebook, Instagram, Twitter to monitor drug use

By Elizabeth Harrington | Washington Free Beacon

The federal government has committed $5 million to “mine and analyze” social media for studies on Americans’ drug habits.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) posted two matching grantannouncements on Jan. 3, allotting a total of $5 million to be spent this year. The funding will go to several projects that will involve monitoring sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to survey the population’s drug and alcohol use, and conduct “social media-based interventions” aimed at altering behaviors.

“The goal of this [Funding Opportunity Announcement] FOA is to inspire and support research projects investigating the role of social media in risk behaviors associated with the use and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (hereafter referred to as ‘ATOD’) and projects using social media to ameliorate such behaviors,” the NIH said in one announcement, worth $1.5 million.

at the Washington Free Beacon.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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