October 17, 2016

A student at Duke University has built a Chrome extension that will provide pop-up fact checks during the final presidential debate this Wednesday.

The tool, developed by Gautam Hathi of Duke Reporters’ Lab, will be powered by fact checks previously published by PolitiFact, a project of the Poynter-owned Tampa Bay Times. The fact checks will be sent out manually by an editor at the website when a politician repeats a claim similar to one previously fact-checked.

In a blog post, Duke professor and PolitiFact founder Bill Adair notes that “private tests in the first two debates have been encouraging.”

The fact-checks pop up relatively quickly after the candidate makes the claim. It is reminiscent of the VH1 show Pop Up Video, which provided sometimes irreverent annotation to rock videos in the 1990s.

The extension, called FactPopUp, works as a Twitter application and requires users to both have an account and authorize the application to access it.

FactPopUp joins other technological developments that have emerged to accompany voters during this fact-challenged campaign cycle. These include NPR’s live annotation of the debate transcript and Google’s introduction of a fact-checking tag in its News service.

The uniqueness of this tool in particular is that it doesn’t require a second screen: the feed of the debate and the pop-up will appear on the same tab.

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Alexios Mantzarlis joined Poynter to lead the International Fact-Checking Network in September of 2015. In this capacity he writes about and advocates for fact-checking. He…
Alexios Mantzarlis

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