Tech meets politics at hackathon in downtown Los Angeles

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A new nonprofit organization kicked off a 48-hour hackathon Friday evening downtown in Los Angeles, bringing members of the technological and political worlds together in an effort to create new solutions amid a time of political strife.

"More people are really getting off their couches and realizing that you can't just complain about things. You actually have to put your skills to work," said Jesse Pickard, co-founder of the nonpartisan group Debug Politics.

The L.A. event comes after similar functions were held in New York and San Francisco, which have already yielded results.

A Facebook bot named Second Opinion was developed, analyzing messages on the social media site to determine if they are fake news.

Another example includes helloGOV, an app that makes it easier for users to reach out to their representatives in Congress.

"There's still a lot of energy around, just overall improving the system," event organizer Joanna Popper said. "People from both sides of the aisle."

Attendees came to the hackathon from diverse backgrounds and represented several generations.

"Tech makes things more accessible," Catherine Clinch said. "If you can get information to people in an effective, easy way that they can engage with and share, then you have your evangelists who can spread the message."
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