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Super PAC app for iPhone is like Shazam for political ads

Mel Martin

The free Super PAC app has just been released for the iPhone and it gives you a look behind the curtain to see who is funding the political ads that are blanketing the airwaves and the internet, and gives you some places to check the 'facts' that the ads claim. In a way it is like the Shazam app that identifies a music track when you let your phone hear a sample of a song.

You hold the app up to a speaker to catch the audio from a TV ad, and using speech recognition technology, the ad is identified, and you'll learn how much the Political Action Committee behind it has spent, and you can get references to various fact-checking groups that can tell you how accurate the claims are. You can also vote your feelings on the ad, saying you love it, that's it's fair, fishy or a fail. Radio ads aren't supported yet.

I tried the app on several political ads I found on YouTube. In each case, the add was identified, and the group behind it was named. Don't expect the app to make decisions about the literal truth of an ad, it simply refers you to fact-check organizations and articles about the ad, and they may have their own political agendas. Still, enough information was given on both sides for me to make my own decision about the honesty of the claims being made. I couldn't find any political agenda or bias in the app, it seemed to collect information from partisan and non-partisan sources.

The app comes from Glassy Media, an outgrowth of the MIT Media Lab, and the aim is to bring increased transparency to the political process. The app works only on presidential ads. Other candidates and issues aren't supported. If you've been wondering who is behind the ads you are seeing, there is now an app for that. Give it a try.

Gallery: Super PAC app | 5 Photos

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