Fake news is everywhere. In this climate of Covid-19, one rumour like "Sweden has gained herd immunity" could be circulated around the globe in mere minutes and have life threatening consequences. We approach this complex problem with a simple question: How can Twitter users be empowered to discern the truth in what they read online?
How the CheckIfTrue Bot Works
Our solution is a Twitter bot, CheckIfTrue. The bot responds to the hashtag #checkiftrue and returns a verdict on each claim presented to it.
During #EUvsVirus we spotted that Google has an existing fact checking API which is continuously updated and aggregates multiple, trusted, up-to-the-minute fact-checking services into one service. Our research found no existing service answers Tweets with Google Fact Check, and this bot represents great potential impact in this area.
Using a bot for good will open minds to the empowered status of every internaut/internet-user, reminding users that they have access to a tool able to sift the wheat from the fake news. Furthermore, our bot has the capability to publicly give this verdict, therefore lending the weight of its ever-growing voice against the roar of fake news. The impact of CheckIfTrue is clearly wide-reaching and in this time could genuinely help to save lives by dispelling falsehoods.
What We Accomplished
During #EUvsVirus we have brainstormed ideas, refined our concept, selected the most appropriate technology, and implemented and tested our bot CheckIfTrue. Alongside this we have prepared our submission in video and text format. Our proof-of-concept bot is now complete and awaits approval of its own unique Twitter dev account. In the meantime, we have had it up and running attached to a demo account. Please refer to our video for a real time demo.
What's Next for CheckIfTrue?
The future of this simple but powerful project is obviously bright, having the capability to adapt to each future uncertainty as it arises, meeting our global community’s desire for fact-checking on Twitter. It will continue to be hosted for free on Heroku and any maintenance to coding will be done by our dev voluntarily. The only necessity is for a Twitter Developer Account which is solely for this purpose (as opposed to our dev’s personal account).
Want to Demo it Yourself?
Until we have API access for @checkiftrue, the bot is only active for testing purposes, as it uses the developer's Twitter account currently. As such, if you would like to try our bot for yourself, get in touch with Jonathan Rudman on Twitter @JontySR or email email@example.com