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Digital Forensics: Using Social and Online Tools to Find Great Stories – ONA19


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Notable figures, like all of us, exhibit specific, personalized behavior online, creating internet footprints visible to anyone via ethical and public digital sleuthing. Join this session to learn how to uncover likes, follows and timestamps, set up alerts and bots and dig around with digital tools.

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Digital Forensics: Using Social and Online Tools to Find Great Stories – ONA19

  1. 1. Network: _ONAconf • Password: happy20thONA • Socialize with #ONA19 #ONA19Sleuth
  2. 2. Digital Forensics Using Social and Online Tools to Find Great Investigative Stories | Friday 4-5 p.m. Join the conversation with #ONA19Sleuth #ONA19Sleuth
  3. 3. Michelle Baruchman Engagement Editor/Reporter The Seattle Times @mlbaruchman About the speakers Jane Lytvynenko Reporter BuzzFeed News @JaneLytv Ashley Feinberg Senior Writer Slate @ashleyfeinberg Malachy Browne Senior Producer The New York Times @malachybrowne #ONA19Sleuth
  4. 4. In this session we will: ● Enhance your public record toolkit ● Monitor public figures using new tools ● Understand the digital trails we leave online ● Gain a general understanding of a few tools ● Generate story ideas to pursue #ONA19Sleuth
  5. 5. Malachy Browne’s New York Times Visual Investigations Using drone, cellphone and satellite footage to analyze a medic killed in Gaza and prove a chemical attack in Syria #ONA19Sleuth
  8. 8. Malachy’s tools and resources ● Drone, satellite, cellphone footage ● SAMDesk, Snap Maps, Crowdtangle ● Google images, Weather reports ● Exif data, sun calculators ● Plane and Ship Trackers ● Blender (3D Reconstructions) ● Adobe Creative (or any edit tools) #ONA19Sleuth
  9. 9. Jane Lytvynenko’s BuzzFeed Investigations Using discovery and monitoring tools to debunk misinformation and disprove viral conspiracies #ONA19Sleuth
  10. 10. Online Investigation ● Ex. These Bizarre Kamala Harris and Mark Zuckerberg Conspiracy Sites Are Run By A Montessori School Operator #ONA19Sleuth
  11. 11. Tools in this investigation ● Reverse image search ● Exif data ● Search operators ● Domain data ● Crowdtangle extension
  12. 12. Reverse image search
  13. 13. Isolating the image https://aim4truthblo m/2019/03/kamala- harris-birth-certifica te.jpg?w=980
  14. 14. Search operators
  15. 15. Exif data Social media sites strip images of their exif data. Other sites may not.
  16. 16. Search operators ● Inurl:”username” ● -keyword ● site:URL ● * ● filetype:PDF
  17. 17. Domain tools
  18. 18. Creative Googling
  19. 19. Crowdtangle extension
  20. 20. Disinformation Roundup ● Ex. Misinformation Is Spreading About The Alabama Abortion Ban. Here’s What’s Real And What’s False. #ONA19Sleuth
  21. 21. In this report ● Audience engagement ● Crowdtangle search ● Facebook search ● Framing
  22. 22. Audience engagement
  23. 23. Crowdtangle search
  24. 24. Facebook search “Rule number 5: look up HIPPA, your information is federally protected.”
  25. 25. Facebook search
  26. 26. Framing
  27. 27. ● Reverse image search: ● Image data reader: ● Image forensics: ● Video verification: InVid Jane’s tools and resources ● Twitter analytics: ● Facebook search: and whopostedwhat ● VK search ● Website stats: ● Monitoring: BuzzSumo and Crowdtangle ● AdSense search ● ● Whois data #ONA19Sleuth
  28. 28. Ashley Feinberg’s Investigations Using tracking and sleuthing tools to uncover digital footprints of public figures #ONA19Sleuth
  29. 29. Social Media + Online Mining Some tips for finding digital trails on social media platforms and how to put various sleuthing tools together #ONA19Sleuth
  30. 30. Learn the platforms better than the people you’re covering and use it to your advantage. Ashley Feinberg #ONA19Sleuth
  31. 31. Twitter ● Learn the ins and outs of the platform and how the person or people you’re covering use them ● Ex. I Think I Know Why Trump Faved That Tweet About Rihanna (Slate) #ONA19Sleuth
  32. 32. Twitter ● Twitter’s advanced search can narrow down time frames or find tweets that contain specific language ● Ex. New York Times Columnists vs. the Haters (Slate) #ONA19Sleuth ADD: Advanced Twitter Search Example!
  33. 33. Twitter ● People delete their tweets, but that doesn’t mean they’re gone for good ● You can search the original username / keywords to find traces of tweets in Google cache to put together a more complete picture ● Ex. Turning Point USA Keeps Accidentally Hiring Racists #ONA19Sleuth
  34. 34. Twitter ● Use Tweetdeck to see a fuller activity timeline for the people you follow ● tracks the changes people make in their Twitter bios ● Ex. AOC’s chief of staff leaving #ONA19Sleuth ADD TWEETDECK COLUMNS
  35. 35. Instagram ● Use fake Instagram accounts to track people ● Ex. Let’s See What Laura Bush Is Up To On Instagram (HuffPost) ● Ex. Let’s See What Kimberly Guilfoyle Is Up To On Instagram (HuffPost) #ONA19Sleuth
  36. 36. Instagram ● Use Instagram’s search function to look up a location, property name and hashtags to see who is using it and who is uploading their ● Ex. politician’s aides #ONA19Sleuth
  37. 37. Facebook ● Facebook’s graph tool allows you to see all photos in one place and comments made on pages #ONA19Sleuth
  38. 38. Snapchat ● Many apps use location services ● Snapchat map is one of them allowing you to see what accounts are at a specific location if you search an area #ONA19Sleuth
  39. 39. Nexis ● Use Nexis to find emails and usernames ● Good to do when there are new cabinet appointees or people in the news ● Ex. I Found Eric Trump’s YouTube Playlist, and Now I’m Depressed (Slate) #ONA19Sleuth
  40. 40. WHOIS ● A domain name directly that allows you to see what websites are being taken ● Ex. Jason Chaffetz Is Maybe Considering Running for President in 2028 (Splinter) #ONA19Sleuth
  41. 41. Reverse Google ● Use Google’s reverse image search to find second accounts ● People tend to use the same profile picture #ONA19Sleuth
  42. 42. Put your sleuthing together #ONA19Sleuth
  43. 43. Archiving Some tips about storing information and tracking changes overtime #ONA19Sleuth
  44. 44. Be proactive about archiving and using auto-archival tools. Think about the people you’re reporting on and who is their purview. Be one step ahead Ashley Feinberg #ONA19Sleuth
  45. 45. Auto-Archiving ● IFTT auto-archives things that could be potentially useful ● CloudApp automatically saves your screenshots to an app so you will always have access to them #ONA19Sleuth
  46. 46. Interact Archive’s Wayback Machine ● See how pages evolve over time and how people are editing them ● Helpful when anyone say...sends a cease and desist or accuses you of lying ● Ex. Why Is Brett Kavanaugh The Only Federal Appellate Judge With A Photo In His Bio?
  47. 47. Wikipedia ● You can see who is editing their own page or getting people to edit history to see who is a consistent editor ● Ex. Facebook, Axios and NBC Paid This Guy To Whitewash Wikipedia Pages #ONA19Sleuth
  48. 48. Maintaining Your Profile + Sources Some tips about how to build up a portfolio of investigative stories #ONA19Sleuth
  49. 49. Maintain your profile and keep reporting on your beat. People will leak things to you if they can see you’re interested and have a history reporting on the subject matter. If someone has a tip or an inkling but doesn’t know how to confirm, they may give it to you to report out using digital sleuthing. Ashley Feinberg #ONA19Sleuth
  50. 50. Stories obtained via leaks ● Ex. Mick Mulvaney Gets His Ass Kicked In His Private Trivia League (HuffPost) ● Ex. The New York Times Unites vs. Twitter (Slate) #ONA19Sleuth
  51. 51. ● Google cache ● Twitter Advanced Search ● Tweetdeck ● Track Twitter bios: ● Instagram search Ashley’s tools and resources ● FB graph tool ● Snapchat map location data ● Nexis ● WHOIS ● Reverse Google search ● IFTTT ● CloudApp ● Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine ● Wikipedia #ONA19Sleuth
  52. 52. Thank you! Be sure to visit the many ONA19 exhibitors in the third floor Exhibit Hall. Michelle Baruchman @mlbaruchman Jane Lytvynenko @JaneLytv Ashley Feinberg @ashleyfeinberg Malachy Browne @malachybrowne #ONA19Sleuth
  53. 53. YOUR QUESTIONS What would you like to understand about using digital tools for investigative journalism? #ONA19Sleuth
  54. 54. TIP SHEET All the resources + a few extra available here #ONA19Sleuth