In an unprecedented move for a U.S. news outlet, the Washington Post (WP) has released a fact-checking tool for a single Twitter account: Donald Trump's.
The U.S. President-elect mainly communicates with the public through his Twitter posts, but his tweets are not always accurate, WP points out.
With this in mind, WP designed a Chrome plugin called "RealDonaldContext" to fact-check Trump's tweets in case they're not accurate, "by mistake or by design."
"The Washington Post's Fix team has decided to help ensure that the public receives the most accurate possible information by creating this extension, which will add more context or corrections to things that Trump tweets," WP explains in the description of the plugin.
The plugin works by giving users more context so they can figure out what to believe from Trump's tweets. The U.S. President-elect is quite an active Twitter user with more than 17.4 million followers, many of whom might be misled by inaccurate posts.
Donald Trump Tweets Accuracy
To drive its point home, WP found a great example of a tweet Trump posted on Friday.
Are we talking about the same cyberattack where it was revealed that head of the DNC illegally gave Hillary the questions to the debate?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 16, 2016
WP's Dave Weigel pointed out that the post was not entirely accurate as there was nothing illegal in the matter and Donna Brazile, who leaked the questions to the Hillary Clinton campaign, was not the head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) at the time.
Many may not now this, however, and reading Trump's tweet with no additional context might lead them to believe that it's accurate.
In this case, the RealDonaldContext Chrome extension labels the tweet as incorrect or false, complete with arguments and explanations to back up its claim. In other cases, the plugin may simply add more context so that users get additional information with the tweet.
The additional information will appear as a little gray fact box right beneath the tweet in question.
WP highlights that this tool is in its early stages and it's a work in progress, so it's not perfect. At the same time, it notes that the Chrome plugin takes a bit to update.
"It takes a little while for the Chrome extension to update, so we'll try to stay up to speed on fact-checking what Trump is tweeting, but it may take a few minutes," explains WP.
As a reminder, back in June Trump announced that his campaign team revoked WP's press credentials, accusing the news outlet of inaccurate reporting and coverage.
WP's Philip Bump, who made the RealDonaldContext extension, says that the plugin is not a response to the credits revoke from June. In response to Ars Technica, Bump said he just thought of it this morning and it's not a form of retaliation.