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Skeptical Science collaborates with Repustar to provide Fact Briefs

Posted on 29 April 2021 by John Cook, BaerbelW

We were recently put in touch with Repustar’s founder and CEO Chandran Sankaran, interested in collaborating with Skeptical Science to create climate-related Fact Briefs for their platform. As a new startup, Repustar describe their approach on their About Us page:

Repustar enables everyone to support their conversations online with facts from credible sources. Organizations that contribute to the platform look into the public’s concerns and respond with clear answers supported by credible data and documents.

Repustar combines the tools of journalism and data science to allow well-sourced Fact Briefs to be discovered by the public when and where they are most needed.

News and research organizations with track records of nonpartisanship and evidence-based analyses can contribute their expertise to Fact Briefs, and the platform offers resources to professionals who analyze, create and distribute news.

With people everywhere disoriented about whom to believe and what to trust, Repustar seeks to enable a fact-forward world.

Repustar Fact Briefs

Their evidence-based approach was a good match for Skeptical Science and we began our collaboration with the first step of reviewing a few Fact Briefs drafted by the Repustar team based on some of our rebuttals. We are happy to announce that these initial Fact Briefs have now been published and that Skeptical Science is one of Repustar’s claims reviewing partners.

Repustar’s Fact Briefs are short and to the point, following a common structure where a closed question - answered by either “Yes” or “No” - is posed and answered with a short explanation. Here is an example of how that looks like for one of our Fact Briefs:

Repustar Example

The other rather intriguing tool Repustar offers is the Twitter bot @FactSparrow which helps Twitter users discover and share facts about claims they happen upon in their feed. This is how it works:

Step 1: Find a newsy tweet that makes you raise your eyebrows. (E.g. “Soon we’ll all have flying cars!”)

Step 2:  Hit reply and write “@FactSparrow” along with some guidance about what you want answered (For example, “@FactSparrow is it true that we’ll all have flying cars soon??”)

Step 3:  FactSparrow will offer up a link to a fact that seems relevant. Not what you were looking for? Respond, “More information, please!” and someone will look into writing up a new Fact Brief for you.

Repustar FactSparrow

If you are on Twitter please feel free to use @FactSparrow as outlined above to ask about suspect or confusing claims you run across in online news. We’ll share new Fact Briefs as they become available, so be on the lookout for more tweets like this one from Repustar:

Repustar Tweet

Repustar also regularly hosts webinars and already had John Cook as a guest on February 6, 2021 where he presented “Addressing climate science denial” followed by a Q&A-session with Repustar’s Robyn Sundlee. Well worth spending an hour to watch:

To keep an eye on Skeptical Science’s Fact Briefs on Repustar, bookmark this page and start following @FactSparrow and @GetRepustar on Twitter!

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