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Waste Watch: Taxpayers Fund Twitter Study which Monitors Depression -- Erika Kurre

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Nashville, TN - This Waste Watch report shows you how the government is using your tax dollars as we speak to monitor your Twitter feed.

Researchers were given thousands of dollars to see if you're depressed on social media.

Taxpayer Charles Dossett believes our money is being wasted, paying scientists to watch people's posts on Twitter and interact with them.

According to the National Institutes of Health's research portfolio online, the federal government is paying them nearly 83-thousand dollars for this saying depression is one of the most common debilitating illnesses in the US.

Currently, the NIH monitors the public's mental health by phone surveys and believes social media could make the process more flexible and cost-efficient.

Jermell brasher battles depression.
He's glad someone's keeping an eye on this issue but he's not sure about the method of funding.

The research portfolio says scientists will use algorithms to help identify depression symptoms in Twitter data.

They'll also study the ethical and privacy issues that relate to this.

Twitter declined an interview with us and the NIH didn't respond to our request though taxpayers have no shortage of comments.

This is the first time social media has been used for mental health surveillance.
The project is a year-long study and ends next month.