You are browsing the archive for Government.

Verify U.S. Federal Government Social Media Accounts

August 24, 2012 in Craft, Resources

There are thousands of social media accounts claiming to be associated with the federal government, but how do you know which are real? It’s relatively easy to set up a Twitter account or Facebook profile claiming government connections that aren’t real.

Officials at the General Services Administration want to to aid citizens with a new tool to allow them to find out if a given account is legit.

Available on HowTo.gov, GSA’s Social Media Registry supports more than 20 of the most common social media platforms. Its main purpose is three-fold:

The public will be able to verify that a social media account is run by the government, or spot a fake.

The registry will help manage all these accounts governmentwide by offering application programming interfaces that allow agencies to get data about their agencies.

Finally, the registry serves as a one-stop shop that eliminates the need for different solutions for each agency.

The database is build in Ruby on Rails — an open-source web framework — and officials said the code that powers the registry is open source and available on GitHub. Officials said they teamed with industry partners such as Sunlight Labs, Code for America and Expert Labs to make the registry open and sharable…

Only accounts of official U.S. government agencies, organizations or programs will be tracked by the registry. Government employees will be able to register accounts managed by federal agencies, elected officials, members of the president’s cabinet and heads of agencies. No personal, employee or other types of social media accounts will be included.” Source: Federal Computer Week

Politifact’s Truth-O-Meter

August 24, 2012 in Craft, Resources

PolitiFact is a project of the Tampa Bay Times and its partners to help you find the truth in politics.

Every day, reporters and researchers from PolitiFact and its partner news organization examine statements by members of Congress, state legislators, governors, mayors, the president, cabinet secretaries, lobbyists, people who testify before Congress and anyone else who speaks up in American politics. We research their statements and then rate the accuracy on our Truth-O-Meter – True, Mostly True, Half True, Mostly False and False. The most ridiculous falsehoods get our lowest rating, Pants on Fire…

How the Truth-O-Meter works

The heart of PolitiFact is the Truth-O-Meter, which we use to rate factual claims.

The Truth-O-Meter is based on the concept that – especially in politics – truth is not black and white.
PolitiFact writers and editors spend considerable time researching and deliberating on our rulings. We always try to get the original statement in its full context rather than an edited form that appeared in news stories. We then divide the statement into individual claims that we check separately.

When possible, we go to original sources to verify the claims. We look for original government reports rather than news stories. We interview impartial experts.” Source: PolitiFact

You can now embed part of PolitiFact into your website. Our widgets will put the latest Truth-O-Meter and Obameter rulings on your page. They flex to fit just about any width hole you want them in. Best of all, they update dynamically, so they always contain the latest rulings.” Source: PolitiFact

Project Vote Smart

December 5, 2011 in Community, Education, Resources

Since Project Vote Smart was inaugurated in 1992, we have offered special services and programs to journalists in order to enhance their coverage of local and federal candidates, legislation, and elections. Over the years, Vote Smart has partnered with hundreds of national, state, and local news organizations, all lending their support for our programs and comprehensive databases on more than 40,000 candidates and incumbents, used to help Americans Vote Smart.

Relevant Programs

Research Assistance
Call the Voter’s Research Hotline (1-888-VOTESMART) or email your questions to media@votesmart.org in order to access a free research and referral service for working journalists. Our researchers have access to an extensive library and databases of continually-updated information on elected officials, candidates, issues, special interest groups, and government activities, in order to help journalists with fact-checking and background information for their stories. Also view our web directory for a complete list of information found on our website.

Resources for Your Website
Ready-to-upload widgets, logos and banners make it easy for news organizations to customize Vote Smart’s information resources for their own communities and audiences. To create customized web pages and applications using all or selected parts of Vote Smart’s databases, news organizations can use our Application Programming Interface (API). The API will respond to simple requests for data, such as ‘get bio information for candidate Y’ and ‘get Votes for candidate X.’

The Political Courage Test
Each election cycle, news organizations support our programs by both informing their audience about Vote Smart’s candidate information, and by encouraging their candidates to provide relevant issue information through the Political Courage Test. Previous election-year Test results show, when local news organizations speak out in support of the Political Courage Test, candidates are more likely to provide answers. Candidates’ subsequent answers to Test questions are offered in advance of public release to collaborating news organizations, in order to enrich their campaign coverage. For more information email media@votesmart.org or call 406-859-8683.

The Political Courage Test is the organization’s flagship program, asking all candidates one central question: “Are you willing to tell citizens where you stand on the issues you may face if elected?” Candidates who reply “yes” are asked to address key issues known to be both consistently of top concern to the American people and also likely to come up in the next legislative session.

VoteEasy™
Utilizing thousands of hours of research and a vast collection of data assembled by Vote Smart researchers, this interactive tool allows the general public to quickly and easily see which presidential and congressional candidates align with their views on key issues such as abortion, immigration, and the environment. Use it now! News organizations are encouraged to link directly to VoteEasy™ by placing VoteEasy banners on their elections website page.

“The ultimate tool for pre-election research; [VoteEasy] does a great job of connecting you to political candidates that share your views in a fun, dynamic way.” – CommArts Annual

  • 2011 CommArts Interactive Annual Award Winner
  • 2011 Webvisionary Award Winner, “Visualize This” Category
  • Featured as part of the Museum of Modern Art’s “Talk to Me” exhibit” Source: Vote Smart

The Sunlight Foundation

December 5, 2011 in Experiments, Resources, Technology

In April 2006, the Sunlight Foundation formally opened its doors. Unlike other non-profit institutions based in Washington, DC, Sunlight sought, much like a tech start-up, to take an experimental approach to achieving its goals of making government data more available and accessible. Rather than focusing exclusively on policy work aimed at Washington insiders or grassroots engagement efforts aimed at ordinary Americans, Sunlight focused on three key priorities: digitizing data, building tools and the sites for easy access to it, and developing communities to support and help carry on its work. 

Sunlight’s main policy priority is to establish within government an a priori assumption that all public information should be made available online, in as close to real-time as possible…

Perhaps most importantly, at our core, Sunlight recognizes that no number of staff at Sunlight or organizations we fund will be able to accomplish the task of making government transparent and accountable alone. Consequently, Sunlight seeks, at every opportunity, to engage concerned citizens in the work of making Washington more transparent, accessible and accountable.” Source: Sunlight Foundation