Social media played a central role in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, allowing the outsider candidate to circumvent the news media and communicate directly with his supporters, framing events and countering unfavorable coverage with his own narratives.
As president-elect, he shows no sign of moderating the tone or frequency of his social media activity. That suggests Twitter will continue to be a key channel for rallying supporters and rebutting critics as he does political battle with a largely hostile establishment.
It’s no secret that Trump’s statements, both online and in person, often have a tenuous relationship with reality, at best.
In fact, his propensity for posting falsehoods and retelling conspiracy theories is so pronounced The Washington Post has created an automatic fact checker for his Twitter profile. It's intended to help users make sense of the veritable blizzard of controversial and questionable claims issuing from his fingertips.
The WaPo fact checker, called “Real Donald Context,” is available as an extension for Google Chrome and provides the newspaper’s take on Trump’s statements within the Twitter feed.
In an early example, Real Donald Context took issue with his assertion that the head of the Democratic National Committee, Donna Brazile, “illegally gave Hillary the questions to the debate.” As the WaPo fact checker points out, Brazile was a CNN contributor at the time, not the head of the DNC, and her actions were “in no way illegal.”
Real Donald Context is a collaborative tool, according to the newspaper, which is inviting readers to point out inaccuracies and falsehoods in Trump’s tweets the newspaper may have missed.As its name suggest, in addition to assessing the truthfulness of Trump’s statements, Real Donald Context also attempts to explain some of his more cryptic musings. In another example, it points out that a tweet excoriating Vanity Fair magazine had nothing to do with politics, but was apparently retribution for a negative review of the restaurant at Trump Tower.