The Ad Hawk App has made a timely and welcome appearance. After all, it’s that time of year when political ads are on just about every TV and radio in America and Adhawk (there is both Ad Hawk for iPhone and Ad Hawk for Android) has answered our political prayers. Ok, ok, probably not the exact political prayers you had, but the app, a sort of Shazam for political ads, certainly helps decipher these ads that are playing everywhere. And not just your cheerful, “Vote for me, I’m great” ads, but those nasty, mud-slinging political attack ads. Aside from the fact that they seem to be popping up every other commercial, some find it hard to take those ads with much more than a grain of salt. Even though they typically end by announcing the name of whichever group funded the ad, often times we don’t necessarily recognize the group. And many times, that is the key in deciphering the true motivation behind the ad.
Ad Hawk, made by Sunlight Foundation, works by you holding your phone, app open, up to the TV or radio when a political ad is playing. From there it will search its database of audio and offer information about the ad, including who funded the ad. It will even give you financial information about the super PAC funding the ad, how much money the PAC has, how much was spent on the ad, and in what ways their spending trends, such as if their money has mainly gone towards ads opposing certain candidates or initiatives.
In addition to super PAC ads, Ad Hawk can recognize which ads have been backed by candidates and special interest groups. The only thing that Ad Hawk won’t give you is a rundown of who, individually, is funding the super PACs, which may be important information for some. For that information, you will have to go the extra step to Google. Ad Hawk is available for download to both Android and iOS devices.
If you want a little extra interactive fun with your political research, a similar app called Super PAC, by Glassy Media, works like Ad Hawk by allowing you to hold your phone, app opened, up to a political ad. The app will not only give you the stats on how much the super PAC has raised and spent, but it will also tell you about the political leanings of the super PAC. Super PAC the app also lets you vote on the political ad, with voting options such as “Love,” “Fishy,” or “Fail.” The Super PAC app is only available for an iOS device. Happy app-ing!
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