1. Week 3: Verifying Sources and
Content Found on Social Media
2. Principles of Verification
•Develop human sources — and talk to them
•Consult multiple, credible sources. “How do you
•Be skeptical: Is something too good to be true?
•Verify the source and the content.
•Assume images, video has been scraped/reposted.
•Communicate and collaborate
•Breaking news breeds chaos. Restraint is key
3. Verifying the source
4. Evaluate the Account & Person
• Is the account verified?
• On Twitter, check when account was created
– Be suspicious of brand-new accounts
• Analyze their network
Friends, followers, conversations, retweets
What do they usually tweet/post about?
Where do they say they are?
How does it compare?
• Evaluate posts before and after
5. Check Outside Social Media
•Google the handle/name with “spam, scam,
spammer,” etc. to see if others have complained
6. Check Outside Social Media
•See if you can find other accounts online with the
info you have.
•Search the username
•If you find a real name, use people search tools
(who.is , Spokeo, White Pages, Pipl.com, WebMii)
to find the person’s address, email and telephone
– Check other social networks, such as LinkedIn, to
find out about the person’s professional
7. Contact, Check Other Sources
•DM them, get on the phone, Skype
•Get details and additional corroboration from
people, images, etc.
•Are others reporting this incident or event?
•If so, what sourcing are they using?
8. Verifying the content
9. Verifying Photos & Video
•Review the uploader’s history/location
– See if he/she has shared credible content in the past or
may be scraping from others
•Are there images before and after you can
•Get the uploader on the phone or Skype to talk
about the image
•Beware of the amazing shot in a breaking news
10. Verifying Photos & Video
•Confirm the provenance: Using video and
image search (YouTube, Google Images, TinEye
etc.), see if any earlier pieces of content from
the same event pre-date your example.
(YouTube date stamps using PST.)
•Check exif info: regex.info/exif.cgi
•Reference locations against Google Maps,
Wikimapia and existing images from the area.
11. Verifying Photos & Video
– Clothes, buildings, language, license plates,
– Do they support the image?
•Examine weather reports, shadows to confirm
conditions shown fit date and time.
•Compare landmarks, buildings to Google Maps,
12. The Debunker Toolkit
Google Image Search/TinEye.com.
•Big news brings out the fakers — and confusion
•Check the source and the content
•Investigate the network, the history of a SM
•Use human sources, always seek contact
•Use tools, but not only tools
•Don’t rush to be wrong. Value restraint