Tool: Checkdesk 

Source: Meedan.org

Description: Checkdesk is a verification desk for the digital newsroom designed to help curate user-generated content during breaking news and connect journalists to citizen sources on the ground. “Checkdesk facilitates collaborative fact-checking of unverified reports,” writes the developers. “Professional journalists can join forces with citizen journalists in search of background information and evidence to corroborate social media reports.” Based on the video it is part embedable, liveblog curation platform and part organizing platform for mobilizing users and contributors. Checkdesk is currently in a testing phase at a number of news organizations in the middle east: Al Masry Al Youm and Welad El Balad Media Services (Egypt); 7iber (Jordan); Nahar Ashabab and SMEX (Lebanon); Ma’an Network(Palestine), and Al-Ayyam (Syria). The project is open source. 

Relevant Links: 

Product Page: http://checkdesk.org/

Introduction by Meedan: http://meedan.org/2012/03/verification-citizen-journalism-middle-east-uprisings/

Tool: FourMatch 

Source: FourAndSix

Description: From the site: “FourMatch is an extension for Adobe Photoshop that instantly analyzes any open JPEG image to determine whether it is an untouched original from a digital camera.” FourMatch uses an immense database of metadata and more to analyze the digital signature left by hardware and software products on photos. The extension costs $890.

Relevant Links

Product Page: http://www.fourandsix.com/fourmatch/
TechCrunch: http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/18/photo-fakery-tackled-by-fourmatch-software-that-tells-you-when-the-camera-lies/

Hat tip to Sam Stewart for introducing me to FourMatch.

Tool: Churnalism

Source: The Sunlight Foundation and the Media Standards Trust

Description: Churnalism compares articles articles to a database of press releases. The Sunlight Foundation’s version of Churnalism is based on a UK site and the open-source search engine technology created by the Media Standards Trust. The site is meant as a public accountability tool but could also be useful for journalist assessing blog posts and other source material.

Relevant Links: 

Churnalism site: http://churnalism.sunlightfoundation.com/

Poynter: http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/211284/sunlight-foundations-new-plagiarism-detection-software-launches-claims-a-bust/

Tool: Full Fact Finder
Source: FullFact.org
Description: via Journalism.co.uk, “The UK-based fact-checking website Full Fact has launched an online finder which journalists can use to track down accurate information. The Full Fact Finder covers information relating to five topics: economy, health, crime and the law, immigration and education. Search results offer users general background information, as well as details on the sort of data available in the area and links to statistics from official bodies.
Relevant Links: 
Journalism.co.uk: http://www.journalism.co.uk/news/full-fact-launches-online-fact-finder-for-journalists/s2/a553823/
FullFact.org: http://fullfact.org/
Full Fact Finder: http://fullfact.org/finder

Tool: Full Fact Finder

Source: FullFact.org

Description: via Journalism.co.uk, “The UK-based fact-checking website Full Fact has launched an online finder which journalists can use to track down accurate information. The Full Fact Finder covers information relating to five topics: economy, health, crime and the law, immigration and education. Search results offer users general background information, as well as details on the sort of data available in the area and links to statistics from official bodies.

Relevant Links: 

Journalism.co.uk: http://www.journalism.co.uk/news/full-fact-launches-online-fact-finder-for-journalists/s2/a553823/

FullFact.org: http://fullfact.org/

Full Fact Finder: http://fullfact.org/finder

Tool: SRSR (pronounced Sourcer) 

Source: Nick Diakopoulos

Description: SRSR (“Seriously Rapid Source Review”) is an application that helps aggregate and assess sources on social media during breaking news events. The team built in custom computations and cues designed to assess potential sources based on  location, network, and past content. The app specifically aids with three tasks:

  • Automatically Identifying Eyewitnesses - “filter sources based on whether or not they were likely to be eyewitnesses.” 
  • Automatically Identifying User Archetypes - “different types of users on Twitter may produce different kinds of information” SRSR segments users according to archetypes: “journalists/bloggers, organizations, and ‘ordinary’ people.” 
  • Visually Cueing Location, Network, Entities - assess the potential verity and credibility of a source based on their profile, location and network. 

Relevant Links

Introductory Blog Post: http://www.nickdiakopoulos.com/2012/01/24/finding-news-sources-in-social-media/

Academic Paper - Unfolding the Event Landscape on Twitter: Classification and Exploration of User Categories: http://www.nickdiakopoulos.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/dechoudhury-cscw2012.pdf

Academic Paper - Information Credibility on Twitter: http://www.ra.ethz.ch/cdstore/www2011/proceedings/p675.pdf

ToolsSpokeo, Wolfram Alpha, White Pages, Google Maps

Source: Markham Nolan, Storyful

Description: In this TED Talk Nolan describes a case study in which the Storyful team tracks verifies a user generated YouTube video of lightening hitting a tree, using only free web tools. Once they found the dramatic video they looked up the name of the user who uploaded the video on Spokeo, then cross reference those results with the weather report’s via Wolfram Alpha, tracked down an exact address in the White Pages, and used Google Maps satellite images to match the house and yard in the video to the address. 

Relevant Links: 

Storyful Blog: http://blog.storyful.com/2012/10/09/find-that-fireball-when-journalist-turns-stalker/#.UfsDnWRARvZ

Tool: FactCheck.org
Source: Annenberg Public Policy Center
Description: FactCheck.org is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.They describe themselves as “a nonpartisan, nonprofit ‘consumer advocate’ for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.” While their focus is on politics, that topic is taken broadly and encompases a lot of the chatter on the web. 
Relevant Links:
FactCheck.org: http://www.factcheck.org

Tool: FactCheck.org

Source: Annenberg Public Policy Center

Description: FactCheck.org is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.They describe themselves as “a nonpartisan, nonprofit ‘consumer advocate’ for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.” While their focus is on politics, that topic is taken broadly and encompases a lot of the chatter on the web. 

Relevant Links:

FactCheck.org: http://www.factcheck.org




Tool: WhoWhatWhen
Source: Steve Browning
Description: WhoWhatWhen is a database of people and events from 1000 A.D. to the present that can be sorted, compared, and aligned quickly to confirm the accuracy of time/people/event references. You can create graphic timelines that provide context for events and people’s lives. Good for confirming if a technology or world event actually happened during someone’s lifetime. 
Relevant Links:
WhoWhatWhen: http://www.sbrowning.com/whowhatwhen/index.php

Tool: WhoWhatWhen

Source: Steve Browning

DescriptionWhoWhatWhen is a database of people and events from 1000 A.D. to the present that can be sorted, compared, and aligned quickly to confirm the accuracy of time/people/event references. You can create graphic timelines that provide context for events and people’s lives. Good for confirming if a technology or world event actually happened during someone’s lifetime. 

Relevant Links:

WhoWhatWhen: http://www.sbrowning.com/whowhatwhen/index.php

Tool: LazyTruth
Source: Matt Stempeck, Justin Nowell, Evan Moore, David Kim, Stefan Fox, David Kang, Yael Alkalay
Description: An inbox extension that recognizes emails full of political myths, urban legends, or security threats and debunks them in your mail program. Right now it only works in Chrome and  Gmail, but they are looking to expand it. From the site: “People who consulted fact-checking sites in the 2012 election had a better understanding of candidates’ positions, even after controlling for party, ideology, interest in the election, gender, age, education, and race (source). LazyTruth brings this knowledge to you.”
Relevant Links:
Lifehacker: http://lifehacker.com/5960798/lazytruth-fact-check-chain-emails-responds-to-the-sender-with-the-truth
The Verge: http://www.theverge.com/2012/11/14/3646294/lazytruth-fact-check-chain-email

Tool: LazyTruth

Source: Matt Stempeck, Justin Nowell, Evan Moore, David Kim, Stefan Fox, David Kang, Yael Alkalay

Description: An inbox extension that recognizes emails full of political myths, urban legends, or security threats and debunks them in your mail program. Right now it only works in Chrome and  Gmail, but they are looking to expand it. From the site: “People who consulted fact-checking sites in the 2012 election had a better understanding of candidates’ positions, even after controlling for party, ideology, interest in the election, gender, age, education, and race (source). LazyTruth brings this knowledge to you.”

Relevant Links:

Lifehacker: http://lifehacker.com/5960798/lazytruth-fact-check-chain-emails-responds-to-the-sender-with-the-truth

The Verge: http://www.theverge.com/2012/11/14/3646294/lazytruth-fact-check-chain-email

Tool: Dynamic Network Analysis

Source: André Panisson

Description: Panisson created a real-time infographic mapping tweets and retweets the day Egypt’s Mubarak was forced out of office. While the visualization in and of itself is interesting. As a tool for verification  it is particularly fascinating on a few levels. It helps you see the flow of information, or misinformation and track it back to its source. In addition, it helps you access who influential people are in a discussion, offering you leads and potential sources. Panisson described the project this way, “It was very interesting to see, in real time, the exact moment when Tahrir Square, from a mass protest demonstration, has been transformed in a giant party, and the burst in the Twitter’s activity. It was like covering in real time a virtual event, a big event that was happening in the Twitter virtual world.”

Relevant Links:

Panisson’s blog post: http://gephi.org/2011/the-egyptian-revolution-on-twitter/

TED Video of Storyful’s Markham Nolan talking about the tool: http://www.ted.com/talks/markham_nolan_how_to_separate_fact_and_fiction_online.html

Fast Company: http://www.fastcodesign.com/1663254/infographic-of-the-day-watch-egypts-twitter-uprising-bloom-video

10,000 Words: http://www.mediabistro.com/10000words/ifuss-video-sharing-for-journalists_b21315

Tool: ifussss (If You See Something Share Something)
Source: Edward Brooks
Description: ifussss share some similar qualities with apps being developed by WITNESS for reporting on human rights abuses but focuses on monetizing verified content. 10,000 Words reports “You see traffic on a bridge, for example. You shoot and upload it to the ifussss network. It’s automatically geo, time, and hash tagged. News editors can search and monitor the ifussss newsroom platform and, this is where it gets interesting, buy the content.” 
Relevant Links:
ifussss: http://www.ifussss.com/
10,000 Words: http://www.mediabistro.com/10000words/ifuss-video-sharing-for-journalists_b21315

Tool: ifussss (If You See Something Share Something)

Source: Edward Brooks

Description: ifussss share some similar qualities with apps being developed by WITNESS for reporting on human rights abuses but focuses on monetizing verified content. 10,000 Words reports “You see traffic on a bridge, for example. You shoot and upload it to the ifussss network. It’s automatically geo, time, and hash tagged. News editors can search and monitor the ifussss newsroom platform and, this is where it gets interesting, buy the content.” 

Relevant Links:

ifussss: http://www.ifussss.com/

10,000 Words: http://www.mediabistro.com/10000words/ifuss-video-sharing-for-journalists_b21315

Tool: Report An Error Alliance

Source: Craig Silverman and Scott Rosenberg

Description: From their site: The Report an Error Alliance is an ad hoc group of individuals and organizations who endorse a simple idea. If you’re a publisher, journalist or provider of any kind of information, you want to know if you got something wrong. Now it’s time to make it easy for people to tell you about it. Giving site visitors an easy-to-find, easy-to-use “report an error” button is a way of saying to them that you care about accuracy, you want to know when you make errors, and you’re conscientious about fixing them. It’s like putting a “you can trust this” badge on everything you publish. 

Relevant Links:

Report An Error: http://reportanerror.org/

Poynter: http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/108602/report-an-error-alliance-aims-to-set-new-standard-for-news-error-reporting/

Tool: MediaBugs
Source: Scott Rosenberg and Mark Follman 
Description: From their site: MediaBugs is a service for reporting specific, correctable errors and problems in media coverage. See something wrong with a news item in print, broadcast or online? You report the problem. We’ll provide a neutral, civil, moderated discussion space. We’ll try to alert the journalists or news organization involved about your report and bring them into a conversation. As a result of this dialogue between journalists and the public, some errors may get corrected; others won’t. Either way, the discussion will leave a useful public record.
Relevant Links:
MediaBugs: http://mediabugs.org/
NiemanLab: http://www.niemanlab.org/2009/06/mediabugs-rethinks-corrections-by-taking-a-page-from-programmers/

Tool: MediaBugs

Source: Scott Rosenberg and Mark Follman 

Description: From their site: MediaBugs is a service for reporting specific, correctable errors and problems in media coverage. See something wrong with a news item in print, broadcast or online? You report the problem. We’ll provide a neutral, civil, moderated discussion space. We’ll try to alert the journalists or news organization involved about your report and bring them into a conversation. As a result of this dialogue between journalists and the public, some errors may get corrected; others won’t. Either way, the discussion will leave a useful public record.

Relevant Links:

MediaBugs: http://mediabugs.org/

NiemanLab: http://www.niemanlab.org/2009/06/mediabugs-rethinks-corrections-by-taking-a-page-from-programmers/

Tool: SwiftRiver
Source: Ushahidi
Description:  SwiftRiver is a platform that helps people make sense of a lot of information in a short amount of time. In practice, SwiftRiver enables the filtering and verification of real-time data from channels like Twitter, SMS, Email and RSS feeds. The SwiftRiver platform offers organizations an easy way to apply semantic analysis and verification algorithms to different sources of information. Swift’s user-friendly dashboard means that users need not be experts in intelligence platforms, so they can focus on research and response. SwiftRiver offers an open source, affordable, data intelligence platform for news organizations, non-profits, small governments, and NGOS.
Relevant Links:
NiemanLab: http://www.niemanlab.org/2011/06/adding-context-to-content-swift-river-gets-knight-funding-to-tackle-the-problem-of-real-time-verification/
PBS MediaShift: http://www.pbs.org/idealab/2011/12/swiftriver-throws-a-lifeline-to-people-drowning-in-information340

Tool: SwiftRiver

Source: Ushahidi

Description:  SwiftRiver is a platform that helps people make sense of a lot of information in a short amount of time. In practice, SwiftRiver enables the filtering and verification of real-time data from channels like Twitter, SMS, Email and RSS feeds. The SwiftRiver platform offers organizations an easy way to apply semantic analysis and verification algorithms to different sources of information. Swift’s user-friendly dashboard means that users need not be experts in intelligence platforms, so they can focus on research and response. SwiftRiver offers an open source, affordable, data intelligence platform for news organizations, non-profits, small governments, and NGOS.

Relevant Links:

NiemanLab: http://www.niemanlab.org/2011/06/adding-context-to-content-swift-river-gets-knight-funding-to-tackle-the-problem-of-real-time-verification/

PBS MediaShift: http://www.pbs.org/idealab/2011/12/swiftriver-throws-a-lifeline-to-people-drowning-in-information340

Tool: Retwact

Source: Stonly Baptiste

Description:  Retwact is a tool that automates the process of notifying anyone who retweeted an inaccurate tweet from your account. The goal is to help slow the spread of misinformation by making it easier to correct tweets. After being released to a lot of acclaim the tools was shut down for violating Twitter Terms of Service related to mass produced tweets. The developer has revised the tool so that it deletes the bad tweet and posts a correction and link to simply RTing the correction.

Relevent Links:

Home Page: http://go.rtrt.co/

Atlantic Article: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/04/retwact-a-tool-for-fixing-twitters-misinformation-problem/275418/