Social Media: Verification Tools

Use:  Verify sources of social media content to ensure veracity

In an earlier post, I shared information on Verification Junkie, a site that aggregates tools to help journalists assess the veracity of sources and information on social media sites.  (For a good source of case studies and best practices on social media verification, click here.)

Here are couple of new (and old) tools that allow journalists to verify if a source is real by identifying that person’s presence on multiple social networks.

Pipl helps verify if information posted is from a real person.  Users can search by name, user name, e-mail address, phone number and location.  (Source: Tool for journalists: Pipl, for verifying social media sources).

Identify is a Firefox plug-in that has been around since at least 2009 that will automatically gather information from across the Web from a page associated to a specific person (any page that has the tag rel=”me”).  The plug-in is invoked by clicking the control key and the “i” key.  It is not available for Firefox version 26.0 (so I was unable to test it).  (Source:  Identify: Google People With Two Keystrokes).

Falcon is a similar plug-in that works on Chrome browsers.  I was able to test this one and it’s pretty cool.  I plugged in the facebook URL of a friend and its showed me his location, various e-mail accounts, identities on Google+, Quora, YouTube, Foursquare, Instagram, Klout and Aboutme. However,  I tried it with my Facebook URL but it did not identify my Gmail, Twitter, Instagram,or Google+ accounts. (It doesn’t work, yet, for LinkedIn). Plus it identified my location as New York rather than Virginia.  But if the goal is to make sure the user is authentic, Falcon appears to work.

Plus:

InformaCam, while not a verification tool for third-parties, does provide users with the ability to provide identifying information in their photos.  Available for android devices, the tool allows users to attach a variety of metadata to pictures and video, including GPS coordinates, time stamps, compass bearings, etc.  As developer Nathan Freitas says: it creates “a digital snapshot of the environment in which the photo or video was taken.” (Source: InformaCam Beta Preview: New Open Source Tool Helps Verify Citizen Media).

Update 1/23/14Free book to help journalists “get a handle” on verification

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