In April, we announced our second cohort of 13 start-ups addressing a broad range of challenges in politics, ranging from polling solutions to psychographic mapping to persuasion testing to volunteer engagement. Every month, we’ll take a look at a different startup in our cohort and share ways you can support their work! We’re kicking the month off with Factba.se.
Bill Frischling walked away from the 2016 election feeling frustrated. The state of politics was divided, and the biggest challenge for so many Americans was weeding through the subjective spin of social media and news analysts to separate truth from opinion. He imagined a world in which people could hold politicians and government officials accountable to their words.
In January 2017, Bill and his wife Jennifer Canty launched Factba.se, an online platform that uses machine learning to transcribe, structure, keyword and analyze text, audio and video. The platform allows users to search any phrase filtered across any specific medium (including tweets, deleted tweets, official documents and speeches) to find exact mentions of that phrase analyzed by sentiment, emotion, and personality. Factba.se gives campaigns, political advocacy groups and corporations automatic access to text from financial records, speeches and Tweets, allowing them to analyze minute changes in strategy and language, uncover potential flashpoints of opponents and ensure complete transparency for everyday citizens.
For their first project, the team compiled and made searchable every word spoken by Donald Trump. With the help of specially formulated software, the platform has currently uploaded 4.7 million words Trump has said in interviews and speeches, as well as all his tweets As the site’s mission statement heralds, there are no stories or spin here, just the words used by Trump from speeches, debates, books, and tens of thousands of tweets.
“Our primary goal with Factba.se is to empower people who may be skeptical of the media with the tools to search primary sources in real-time and drill deeply into relevant facts,” said Frischling. Since its launch, Factba.se has been used daily by the Washington press corps and cited regularly by media outlets such as CNN, The Washington Post, Politico, and Vox. It has also been profiled by Buzzfeed, Mashable, Columbia Journalism Review, Harvard’s Nieman Labs, and been tweeted more than 20,000 times.
FactSquared (parent company of Factba.se) has raised seed funding, led by serial entrepreneurs and investors Mark Walsh and Matt Koll, and will use the capital to expand its outreach in the political, corporate and media fields and continue to develop its platform. To learn more about Factba.se or to connect with the team, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.