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REVEAL | September 30, 2023

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Verify This Week (2/2014)

Verify This Week (2/2014)
Jochen Spangenberg

Every week, we provide interesting links from around the web that discuss issues regarding the verification processes of content from social media. Here is our list for this week.



1. Pipl: a tool for verifying social media sources contributors

Verifying content in Social Networks is one of the most crucial tasks for any journalist. Luckily, there are a number of helpful verification tools that you can work with. Pipl is one example.

Pipl lets users search for individuals and their activities in the Social Web. This can aid in determining whether content in Social Networks has been posted by a “real person”, respectively a reputable source that has shown to publish credible and trusted content over longer periods of time. By displaying users’ profiles in different Social Networks, it makes this assessment easier. Another benefit: Pipl lets you search individuals by name, user name, email address or phone number as well as by location – thereby facilitating getting in touch or linking an identity with contact details, and vice versa.

Sources: Pipl and


2. Verifying Images: TinEye and Google’s Search by Image

Much has been said and written about the verification of images, and the dangers and damage caused by publishing or sharing false or manipulated ones. Examples abound, ranging from fake pictures of hurricane Sandy (see this illustrating article on Mashable) to reporting about Syria (see the case of the BBC using an image taken nine years earlier in Iraq). In an excellent article on the topic, Fiona McCann of Storyful explains what can be done to prevent this from happening.

Some of the tools at hand for the verification of images are TinEye (a so-called “reverse image search” that lets you find out where an image came from, how it is being used, if modified versions of the image exist, or if there are higher resolution versions of it elsewhere) and Google’s Search by Image (also a “reverse image search” that lets you discover content related to a specific image).

Sources: Mashable, The Telegraph, Storyful Blog, TinEye, Google


3. Distant Witness: A new book by Andy Carvin, “the man who tweets revolutions”

There’s a new book out by Andy Carvin (follow him on Twitter @acarvin), senior strategist at US National Public Radio (NPR). Carvin offers his experiences of developments in the course of the “Arab Spring” and the role the Internet, and especially Social Media, played in it. As he was a very active blogger and curator of information in that period, it also provides an insight view into the challenges journalists are faced with when reporting from crisis regions. The book is entitled “Distant Witness” and is available as an eBook or paperback.

Source: CUNY Journalism Press


4. Project Cascade: a project from NYTimes Lab explaining the spreading of content online

Project Cascade is not so much a tool for verification, but for the ex-post analysis of how content did spread online. This, in hindsight, can also give some clues as to how true stories as well as rumors spread. Project Cascade – a 3D visualization tool developed by the Times’ Research & Development Lab is definitely something to watch!

Sources: Project Cascade by NYTLabs & Project Cascade explained

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