Secret Service Wants A Sarcasm Detector? Yeah Right

June, 4, 2014: The agency wants to employ the software to monitor social media posts.

The Secret Service wants to purchase a social media analytics software that can detect sarcasm among other uses. We’re sure this will work.

In a work order posted on Monday, the agency detailed information the tool will collect. It ranged from real time analysis of Twitter posts to synthesizing large sets of social media data.

Ed Donovan, the Secret Service spokesman, made a point to clarify that the sole purpose of the proposed software was not detection of sarcasm.

Our objective is to automate our social media monitoring process. Twitter is what we analyze. This is real time stream analysis. The ability to detect sarcasm and false positives is just one of 16 or 18 things we are looking at. We are looking for the ability to quantity our social media outreach," he said. "We aren’t looking solely to detect sarcasm."


The reports of the software, which will make Willy Wonka, Comic Book Guy, and Dr. House fairly unhappy, have been surfacing since forever. In 2013, a French company, Spotter, claimed to have developed an analytics tool with the ability to detect sarcasm.

Simon Collister, who teaches PR and social media at the London College of Communication, said,"These tools are often next to useless - in terms of understanding tone, sarcasm, it's so dependent on context and human languages." No way!

We sincerely hope that the government gets a hold of such a tooland distributes it among those who feed the online trolls. The Internet could use a lot less of those obnoxious arguments.

We also hope it doesn’t turn out like this.

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