As November’s presidential election draws near, a wealth of political advertisements
and speeches peppered with dubious details
have left many struggling to determine which statements they can accept at face value. Now, to complement initiatives
designed to drive youth voter turnout
, new apps are appealing to Millennials’ desire for transparency by empowering them to peel back the curtain on campaign advertisements.
Super PAC App:
Using the same audio fingerprinting technology
that powers apps like Shazam
, the Super PAC App
lets TV viewers quickly uncover the source, sponsor, and agenda behind a given presidential campaign ad. The app recognizes commercials by their audio waves, pulling from a comprehensive database of ads sourced via Youtube
. Once an ad is identified, viewers are connected to analysis culled from impartial fact-checking organizations such as FactCheck.org
. The app reveals not only which party or Super PAC produced the commercial, but also the ad’s cost and accuracy. Users can then rate the ads themselves, deeming them “fair” or “fishy” based on their relative truthfulness (or lack thereof).
Settle It!: PolitiFact
’s Settle It!
app stands to resolve many dinner-table disagreements in the coming election season. Users simply type in the name, subject, or policy at the heart of a contentious issue in order to pull up related information from PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter
. This Pulitzer Prize-winning
barometer rates claims made by politicians and their advocates, ranging from a top rating of “True” (denoting total authenticity) to the dreaded “Pants on Fire” (indicating a flagrant falsehood). The app also features a game that challenges its users to determine the validity of certain statements on the spot, effectively giving them the chance to hone their own accuracy radars.
The nonprofit, nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation
aims to enhance governmental openness and transparency through the use of technology tools, digital resources, and the ever-expanding pool of accessible online data. In response to the recent rise of the Super PAC
, and the subsequent increased volume of political ads, the NPO developed the Ad Hawk
app to provide viewers with contextual ad information. Like the Super PAC App, Ad Hawk recognizes ads via audio recognition. Once an ad has been identified, the app pulls up relevant information about the organization that funded it, including mission statements, spending history, related media reports, and supplementary websites to encourage further research.