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In an apparent first for any American news outlet, the Washington Post released a Chrome plug-in on Friday designed to fact-check posts from a single Twitter account.
Can you guess which one?
The new “RealDonaldContext” plug-in for the Google Chrome browser, released by WaPo reporter Philip Bump, adds fact-check summaries to selected posts by President-elect Donald Trump. Users will need to click a post in The Donald’s Twitter feed to see any fact-check information from the Washington Post, which appears as a gray text box beneath the tweet.
Samples of the RealDonaldContext extension at work.
But the fact-checking sometimes take a subtler tack.
Or even a snarky one.
Many of the embedded fact-check summaries lead off with “this is incorrect or false.”
The “LEARN MORE” text is clickable, even though its text color isn’t different.
Not every major declarative tweet from the past two months contains a fact-check note.
Nor does the plug-in dive into every assertion. We’ll have to see whether the plug-in, going forward, offers fact checks on statements about rival publications.
With the extension installed, Trump’s Twitter account now includes dozens of fact-check notes on any post with a statement that WaPo‘s editors deem inaccurate or misleading.
In these cases, the added gray box includes a simple headline, a few explanatory sentences, and a link to a longer WaPo article that offers fuller context.
Samples of the extension at work have been posted in the above gallery.
The extension does not appear to offer context or statements in the case of a post being accurate, and Bump tells Ars Technica that the fact-checking has only gone back to late November. His announcement post about the extension claims that “our goal is to provide additional context where needed for Trump’s tweets moving forward (and a few golden oldies).”
In June, Trump announced that his Presidential campaign team had revoked the Washington Post‘s press credentials. He accused the Post of “incredibly inaccurate coverage and reporting” and insulted the paper, calling it “phony and dishonest.” Bump tells Ars that the extension is in no way a response to that action: “Thought of it this morning,” he wrote via Twitter.
The extension arrives two days after current Post owner, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, met Trump alongside a panel of tech-industry CEOs and leaders, including CEOs from Apple, Tesla, Microsoft, and Google parent company Alphabet.
This plug-in is actually Bump’s second offering for the Chrome browser (and second related to Trump).
The first, “Add the Trump Tariff,” automatically changes product prices in Amazon based on expected cost changes due to Trump’s announced tariff policies.
As of press time, Trump’s Twitter account has not yet acknowledged the Post‘s Chrome plug-in.
Listing image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images