Yesterday CivicSource pointed readers in the direction of six mobile apps that are helpful for accessing up-to-date information on the presidential campaign. Today, another one can be added to the list. This morning, a new election-themed app became available for download that dissects political television ads and presents basic, “behind the scenes” facts to create a more politically transparent experience for the voter.
Super PAC App, the free iPhone app developed by former students at MIT’s Media Lab, utilizes audio fingerprinting technology to give users immediate information on the advertisement they are watching on TV. The app matches audio waves from a short clip of the television ad (the app does not yet work for radio) against a database housing all of the presidential political ads. The app then presents information revealing the “who” and “what” behind the ad (Who is this organization? What is their affiliation? Are they a Super PAC or part of the official campaign?) and discloses how much money is involved in the ad and how much the organization has spent so far in the campaign. After exploring this information, the user is given the opportunity to rate the ad (love, fair, fishy, fail) and view other people’s ratings before continuing on to have the ad fact checked. In this last component, the app breaks down the claims asserted in the ad and uses objective, third-party sources to give the user a sense of how much truth and valuable information the ad expels.
In an election season that has already seen a large quantity of vicious, negative campaigning, the Super PAC App is a useful tool for helping voters access the truth. Currently, because of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision that cleared the way for the existence of super PACS, anyone who has money (including individuals, unions, and companies) can participate in the election without financial limitation. The Super PAC App has thus been designed to translate all the campaign ads so that voters are informed of the truth when casting their ballot in November. In an interview with CNN, co-creator Dan Siegel explains, “The campaigns are spending a lot of money and all of that money is going into television ads. And therefore there’s a need for users to be able to play through the noise a little bit.”
You can check out the Super PAC App here.