For many decades, fake news has been an issue that readers had to combat, but it wasn’t until recently that fake news became so prominent and influential in our daily lives. According to a 2016 Gallup poll, only 32% of people said they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media, down 8% from the previous year - and the lowest it’s been in polling history. This is clearly a huge issue for companies and news organizations, and fake news sites are capitalizing on it.
On Monday morning, Mayor Menino’s funeral procession made its way through Boston. A quintuple-elected City Hall official, Boston’s mayor, and a citizen of this town, Menino prided himself on enhancing every part of the city he touched. In fact, the Boston Globe accredits him with turning Boston into “a hub of 21st century innovation.” Since BIGfish is located just outside Boston and we frequently work with local technology and innovation clients, we wanted to reflect on Tom Menino’s dedication to innovate Boston while maintaining the “at-home” and small town feel that make Boston a city to love.
If you have a smartphone (and especially if you’re a music lover), you’ve probably used Shazam before. Just open the app anytime you’re listening to recorded music, and it will identify the artist and track within seconds.Now imagine an app that does essentially the same thing, but with political advertisements instead of music. That app now exists thanks to two former students at MIT’s Media Lab who developed the Super PAC App, released last week.
The free iPhone app listens to political advertisements on television and identifies who paid for the ad and how much they’re spending on the campaign. The app also verifies the ad’s claims by pointing the app’s user to nonpartisan sources such as FactCheck.org and Politifact.Co-founder Dan Siegel explained in a CNN article that the app works via “audio fingerprinting.” When a user opens the app, it submits an audio sample of the campaign ad they’re currently viewing. Super PAC App then matches the audio samples against their database of political ads with the help of their partner TuneSat. According to the app’s website: “The Super PAC App is a simple way for you, the voter, to bring transparency to the 2012 presidential campaign.” The Super PAC App is currently only available for iOS. For Android users, the Sunlight Foundation has developed Ad Hawk, an app that similarly listens to political ads and tells the user who paid for them (also available for iOS). The main difference between the two is that the Super PAC App gives users four options to rate an ad: “Love,” “Fair,” “Fishy,” or “Fail.” Ad Hawk also provides a detailed blurb about the ad, while the Super PAC App points users to fact-checking sources. Both apps launched last Wednesday. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0SG7_DOVpBw Whether these apps will actually bring transparency to the campaign season remains to be seen. Will people take the time to open the app each time a political ad runs? A recent Pew Internet study showed that 52% of all cell phone owners use their phones while watching television, and 38% of those do so to keep themselves occupied during commercials or breaks. This bodes well for Ad Hawk and the Super PAC App, especially as the campaign season ramps up and people become more engaged in politics. At best, the new apps’ unique approach to fact-checking will encourage PACs to create ads that are transparent and truthful. In any case, curious voters now have a simple way to verify claims made by PAC advertisements. Download the apps for free in the App Store or Android Market.
YouTube launched the official YouTube Election Hub on Wednesday, calling it a "one-stop channel for key political moments from now through the upcoming U.S. election day on November 6." This marks the first time YouTube will be offering live streams of campaign coverage, including speeches and debates. In an article from today's Boston Herald, David Gerzof Richard commented on the website's latest endeavor. "If you think about it, 20 years ago, if you wanted to follow an election, you’d have to catch a politician’s speech on the nightly news, or record it on VHS, or listen to it on the radio, or read about it the next day,” he said. “Now we have political speeches on demand, at our fingertips, that you can pull down at any time of day or night. It’s all there for us as citizens to peruse through and digest, and it really does push democracy.” To read the whole article, click the photo above or click here.
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