Online Fact-Checking Tool:
The Internet Bad Statements (“BS”) Detector

Online Fact-Checking Tool: The Internet Bad Statements (“BS”) Detector

Here’s a fairly old repost from my consulting site, where it got no traction whatsoever.

The Bad Statements Detector is a specialized search tool designed to aid in online research and to help prevent people from passing along nonsense on the internet, by making it easier to look stuff up on fact-checking websites like, Politifact,, and other myth-busting websites all at once.

It works very simply: drag a “Detect BS” button to your bookmarks bar to create a “bookmarklet”, a javascript bookmark that opens a tool when clicked. Then, while you surf the web, you can drag your mouse to select text on any web page and click your “Detect BS” bookmark link. This will return no-nonsense links from a multitude of reputable fact-checking and science websites that tell you if the statement you selected is well-known BS (plus offer you some sharing options right from the popup.)

Interested? You can play with the Internet BS Detector here, or live on the web at Check it out. (Right now the instructions on the BS Detector page are a little wordy. Please read ’em. I’m working on simplifying them.)

The source is available in at

Despite its remarkably thorough 100% failure to gain any sort of traction over the years, I really feel like I’ve done some at least abstract good for humanity with this. Hopefully more people will start fact-checking Bad Statements themselves and rumors before they post them on Facebook, so people like me don’t have to harsh on them anymore for not checking Snopes first.

A technical note for webmasters and others :

Here’s where it gets neat: the BS Detector is engineered as what I call a “portable web app”. It includes features which I have not yet documented, but which allow webmasters to copy and host any “portable web app” tool on their own servers with zero configuration and no futzing around required… one single PHP file serves all necessary scripts and images, allows you to download its php source and repost on your own server, automagically updates its self-contained bookmarklet code to work from wherever you host it, and even provides update alerts when the copy you got it from has been updated to a newer version.

It also provides a plug-and-play framework if you develop your own javascript apps… simply enter your javascript code and HTML pages in a function within the file. It automatically gets deployed as a bookmarklet, with the built-in advantages of absolute portability, update checking, and more. Its complete portability and upstream version checking present a new peer-to-peer model of software distribution.

These features will be activated as soon as I’ve got the code tidy enough that I’m not embarrassed at the thought of someone seeing it. If anyone’s particularly interested, feel free to bug me about it.