Want to be a fact checker? Start using Snapchat
I will admit that I am unfamiliar with the world of Snapchat. I’m not sure when I will finally decide to get an account since I decided that I had reached my social media fill after Instagram.
However, I’m always interested about how others, specifically journalists, use social media to assist in their duties. Even individuals who may not have an inkling in journalism, yet still find ways to use their social media accounts for something more constructive.
According to an article appearing in Poynter, millennial fact checkers have started turning their attention to translating their work to newer formats that are more appealing to younger readers. Which makes sense since younger audiences are attracted to more things that they can easily access on their mobile devices. The Snapchat fact-checking method was put to good use just recently during the Republican Presidential debate, during which millennials debated certain “facts” tossed around by the presidential hopefuls.
Regardless of their expertise with Snapchat, fact checkers should be exploring the app, which has seen an impressive increase in its video view count. There are two limitations built-in to fact-checking that make this process harder, says Poynter. The art of fact checking often requires extensive context.
Michelle Ye Hee Lee of The Washington Post's Fact Checker posted a few fact checks from the last Republican debate on Snapchat last week. The snap fact-check received "by far the best engagement of any political story we’ve done on Snapchat," Washington Post social media producer Alex Laughlin told Poynter in an email.
The most useful lesson Lee shared to Poynter might be the importance of being selective. She and Glenn Kessler fact-checked a very long and complex statement by Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz. For Snapchat, she concentrated on the most controversial part of his claim that was likely to be most interesting to viewers. Lee hopes to snap other fact checks on The Washington Post account in the coming months.
It will be interesting to see how fact checkers will continue to use Snapchat and other forms of social media as the presidential election and other major events push ahead. Will millennials experiment with different tools as Poynter suggests? Or will they develop an entirely new system?
The possibilities are endless and I think will continue to evolve.