Welcome to Truth Teller


Truth Teller is an app that fact-checks political speech as it happens.

When you watch a politican speak — whether on television, streaming online or in person — it’s tough to know how much of what they’re saying is true.

Truth Teller gives you the reporting you need at the moment you need it. If anything the politician says has been fact-checked before, you’ll know immediately.

Think of it as a tool to help you sort out when politicians say false or misleading things, and to learn the facts about the situation.

When you watch a Truth Teller video, you’ll see that it’s analyzing the speech for any false claims:

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When it finds one, we’ll tell you whether it’s true or false, and give you a link to more reporting:

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How does it work? 

We use a few different kinds of technology to bring you Truth Teller. First, we find statements by politicians that have been fact-checked, and put them into a database. These usually come from organizations like The Washington Post’s Fact Checker blog, Politifact or Factcheck.org — anyone who identifies political talking points and reports out what’s true or false about them.

Then, we analyze new speeches to see if they contain any of the same misleading claims that are already in our database. We submit video clips to a program called MAVIS by Microsoft, which turns the audio waveforms into a transcript. It’s similar to how Google Now or Apple’s Siri interpret your own speech as text.

Once we have the transcript of the video clip, an algorithm is applied to check if the politician made any statements that we’ve already put into our fact-check database. If so, you’ll see the fact-check appear alongside the video when the politician makes that claim. Read it for the full context the politician is leaving out.

How can I use it?

Watch for Truth Teller videos at PostTV and embedded on our site. We’re growing the database of fact-checks to use Truth Teller on new political topics and targeting specific races for 2014, and you’ll see the app on our blogs and on sites we’re partnering with, like the Texas Tribune.

Truth Teller began with the help of a prototype grant from the Knight Foundation, and has since grown within the Washington Post. We’re continuing to iterate and expand. Send us a line if you’d like to learn more.