Reddit: Making Waves in Fact-Checking
Fact checking is part and parcel of our political events — the responsible act you commit to during the hangover of the event itself. (Consider The New York Times’ detailed fact checks on the complete First Presidential Debate.)
Fact checking in real-time? A tall order that demands as many multi-tasking skills of its audience as it does of its decryptors. But to take it on, no one is better-equipped than Reddit, the forum-cum-social news site whose audience possesses three crucial qualities:
- It’s massive
- It’s college-educated
- It’s enthusiastic and super-anal about details (to wit: this complete explanation of Obamacare for five-year-olds)
As of yesterday it’s taken on fact checking itself. Reddit’s Live Fact Checker for the October 3 Presidential Debate actually made it possible to crowdsource fact checks from the most informed resources possible in real-time:
The subreddit, like its more professional counterparts, would be devoted to the often difficult work that is assessing politicians’ claims in, essentially, real time. Because “if you’re watching the debate,” another redditor put it, “you might as well get the facts, not just the spin.”
Results were mixed, which The Atlantic concedes is unsurprising, given that organisation and the momentum of the project were left entirely up to the audience. There was, of course, bickering. But for the most part it represents an incredible experiment in demystification à la carte.
Read it here, and make it your super power to ensure the verbal destruction of anyone who ever discusses the debate to your face ever again.