Live factchecking of the State of the Union Speech

Live factchecking of the State of the Union Speech

Organisation: La Nación (Costa Rica) (Costa Rica)

Publication Date: 04/03/2017


We created the first platform in Costa Rica to fact-check, in real time, the President’s State of the Union Speech. While the President was speaking, we verified if the statements were true or false using data, graphs and images. In the platform, the users could follow the live thread and see in detail the explanation of the 23 statements that we verified. Before the speech, we created a spreadsheet with possible statements that the president could say, about the economy, employment, national security, energy, education and social policy. We gathered data about those topics and verified the statements in advance. We received the speech two hours before the event, and started confirming the facts. Besides the live fact-checking, we verified statements that the President had considered as achievements of his administration in press releases, but that he didn’t quote in the speech. In addition, we checked if the President had fulfilled 20 promises he had laid out in his previous speech. We discovered that he had failed to finish some of the infrastructure plans he had for 2015.

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

This was the first live fack-cheking platform in Costa Rica. The project registered 9.000 pageviews while the President was giving his speech, which was above the average of a typical political article. More than 40% of the users entered through Facebook and Twitter, and had between 25 and 34 years. They stayed on average 5 minutes and 28 seconds on the site; this was 15% higher that the average time on page. We accomplished the main objectives of the project: Create an innovative product, different from what the other media were offering. Use open data to verify the facts in an objective and useful way for the audience. Contribute to the political debate in social media, and capture more audience in comparison to other media.

Technologies used for this project:

We used HTML, CSS and jQuery for the front end. For the live fact-checking we used the web service application 24 Live Blog. We used Tooltipster.js for the graphs, SVG for infographics and javascript for interaction. The responsive part of the application was made with media query's.
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