Innovation

Someone Invented An Awesome Browser Extension To Fact Check Trump On Twitter

by James Poulos

December 22, 2016

If you’ve always wanted to explore just how truthy Trump’s tweets may be, there’s good news this holiday season.

Making an important effort to catch the news media up to social media, the Washington Post has created a browser extension that puts capsule accuracy judgments into the body of tweets sent from the @realDonaldTrump account.

“It's still in the early stages, but our goal is to provide additional context where needed for Trump's tweets moving forward (and a few golden oldies),” the Post’s Philip Bump noted. “Sometimes, we just add more context, like when Trump announced his pick of Rex Tillerson to serve as secretary of state.”

Of course, there’s always going to be room for disagreement at the blurry edge between fact and framing. (The Post’s gloss on Trump’s claim to have won an Electoral College landslide, for instance, asserts that he “didn’t win a landslide in any sense.” Time to bust out the landslideometer!) But there’s no question that the most outrageous of claims are often the ones that make the biggest splash on social media and prey the most on readers’ ignorance.

And it’s a true fact that success in news media is still based on trusted judgment – but that media organizations have struggled, like many of us, to figure out how best to filter garbage and nonsense out of our online diet.

People just are going to want effective ways to distinguish between provocations and complete BS, and the media just is going to need to deliver. However much the Post’s initiative is “a work in progress,” as Bump admits, it’s a step toward what sure does look like a more reader-friendly future online, whatever your partisan leaning.

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Someone Invented An Awesome Browser Extension To Fact Check Trump On Twitter