Secret Service Is Buying Sarcasm-Detecting Software to Know Whether It Thinks That Last Tweet Was Funny

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 3 2014 6:31 PM

Secret Service Is Buying Sarcasm-Detecting Software to Know Whether It Thinks That Last Tweet Was Funny

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Not big fans of sarcasm.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

The Secret Service wants to know if you were just being sarcastic right there in that last Tweet. It can’t really tell. Which makes sense since sarcasm is defined as “the use of words that mean the opposite of what you really want to say especially in order to insult someone, to show irritation, or to be funny.” Sarcasm on the Internet is a particularly tricky thing.

But the Secret Service thinks it has a solution to its slow wits when it comes to getting the joke—data! The agency, in a work order posted Monday, nextgov.com discovered, began soliciting bids for analytics software that, among other things, has the “ability to detect sarcasm” and do a “sentiment analysis” on social media.

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If this technology ever makes it onto the open market, online dating will never be the same.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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