(Nieman Journalism Lab) We just went through a highly fact-checked election, but it’s unclear what the final score was between truth and fiction. One reason why myths persist is that fact-checking is often out-of-reach at the moment it would be most useful — like the moment where you open your inbox. Forwarding an email is a lot easier than hunting for evidence. So Matt Stempeck, a graduate student at the MIT Media Lab, is tackling the problem closer to its source.
Stempeck and developers Justin Nowell, Evan Moore, and David Kim have written a Gmail plugin called LazyTruth that quietly scans your email for chain letters, urban legends, and phishing scams. When you open a forwarded email, an “Ask LazyTruth” button invites you to investigate. The software checks the email against data pulled from PolitiFact and FactCheck.org, and, if needed, offers a correction and a link to find out more.