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Ad Hawk: A New Toy From the Sunlight Foundation

This scenario might especially apply most to those of you in swing states: Dinner is over. Dishes are washed. Kids are in bed.

You settle in front of the television, beverage in hand, with your feet up. You’re looking forward to that shot of mindless programing, and then you get pummeled.

One political ad after another starts scrolling across your screen, and, for the uninitiated, it is becoming increasingly difficult to figure out who is behind the ad buys.

Enter Ad Hawk! The new free mobile app from the Sunlight Foundation that allows curious voters to figure out which candidate, organization or political action committee is behind each ad. It is immediate fact-checking in the palm of every voter’s hand! 

In the process of developing this app, the Sunlight Foundation is building its own database of political ads, says Sunlight’s spokeswoman Liz Bartolomeo. The group is monitoring all the political YouTube channels out there and using Echo Nest, an open source audio finger print technology a la Shazam.

So when you are sitting in front of the television and a political ad comes on, open your Ad Hawk app and voila! It will tell you who is behind it!

“One of the reasons we created Ad Hawk is because the DISCLOSE Act didn’t pass,” Bartolomeo says. The Democracy Is Strengthened By Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act was introduced as a response to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United vs. FEC ruling.

“[Ad Hawk] is real-time fact-checking, providing you instant information,” she explains.

If you download it, let us know!