Tips and Tricks

4 Free Tools to Verify Online Information Faster

TOOLS FOR CRISIS RESPONSE

Every second counts in a crisis

Samdesk aims to save you as much time as possible, and that includes cutting the time it takes to verify the information you’re gathering from online sources. On average, samdesk clients get alerted to events 45 minutes faster than they would from traditional international news sources.

On top of that, samdesk provides you with contextual information in real-time, such as the local time, date, and weather conditions at the location of the event. Using open-source tools, you can take steps to further verify the content you find online.

Here are four tools to get started:

Wikimapia

This website contains crowdsourced geoinformation, such as the location of buildings and landmarks, and can be useful in areas that are underserved by more popular mapping tools. Is there a distinctive building in the background of a video you’re trying to verify? Search Wikimapia for churches, hospitals, water towers, and other landmarks to help narrow your search. Pair that information with satellite or street-level imagery on other mapping tools (Yandex, Bing Maps, Google Maps, etc) to help pinpoint a location.


Wikimapia.org

SunCalc

SunCalc allows you to enter a specific date, time, and location to learn where the sun was in the sky at that exact moment. This can help you corroborate whether a photo or video was taken when the uploader claims. Check the shadows cast in the image or video and cross-reference with SunCalc and you can back up your assumptions fast. Combine these searches with local weather reports to really solidify your findings. Was it actually raining at the time that this “live” video was posted or did the local weather say it was sunny?

SunCalc.org

SunCalc-header.png

BotSentinel

If you’re unsure about the source of a post on Twitter, BotSentinel allows you to quickly run an analysis on any account and test it for bot-like activity. For example, a scan of samdesk’s Twitter account came back normal but the tool will flag accounts it deems suspicious. This can be a good place to start if you’re worried that an account might be aggregating content from other sources, or posting to further an agenda.

BotSentinel.com

BotSentinel3.png

Tweetbeaver

For deeper analysis, Tweetbeaver can help spot bot-like networks or coordination between accounts. This free tool can tell if two Twitter accounts follow each other or share common followers, and flag bot-like activity that might not be apparent at first glance of a Twitter profile.

TweetBeaver.com

What can you do with an extra 45 minutes?

Combining free tools like these with samdesk alerts, allows teams to understand the context behind social posts during a disruptive event, and then act faster with more confidence. Using tools like these only takes a few minutes, and can give crucial time back to your crisis-response team.

So ask yourself, what could your team do with an extra 45 minutes? Get in touch today if you’d like to learn more about how samdesk can help you get ahead.