New App Detects Lies From Political Ads

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Deep pocketed political donors are out in full force spreading lies about political candidates. Now, a new app, the Super PAC App, will fact check ads on-the-fly. Much like multi-media tagging apps, such as Shazam, can identify songs and television episodes through a recording, users hold up their smartphone during a commercial and the Super Pac app will identify the donors and how factually accurate an ad’s accusations are. The app was co-created by former MIT Media Lab students, Dan Siegel and Jennifer Hollett, with support from the Knight Foundation.

The app pulls in data from non-partisan watchdog groups, such as PolitiFact and FactCheck.org, which routinely rate the accuracy of ads and political statements. Since there’s no central database, the app team has to find all of the commercials manually. “We’re plugged in with those journalists and they’re feeding us ads on a one-off basis. And then, separately, on our own, we’re signed up for all the newsletters and press sheets that alert us to when new ad’s are put out there,” Siegel told CNN.

We can’t wait until someone finds a way to make this technology automatic for all new TVs, online ads, and streaming services. Until such time, the lovely web comic, XKCD, reminds us how to use the principles of Wikipedia to fact check in real life: