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