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Fact Checking on Social Media: Tales and Hacks

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A public lecture I gave to first-year journalism students at the Oslo and Akershus University 
College of Applied Sciences in Norway.
The focus of the lecture was on tips and practices. Please also mind the sources on the last slide. They provide excellent further information.

# Longer Introduction
On Twitter every now and then a celebrity is declared dead. Very often this is just a hoax: For instance, Eddie Murphy and Denzel Washington have had a mysterious deadly snowboarding accident. And when North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il died, the rapper Lil Kim became a trending topic as many hip hop fans simply got confused due their similar names.

Rumours, hoaxes and wrong information have been everyday phenomena in the news business. With social media some things have changed: User generated content has become a new source for journalists and now news spread and modify faster than ever. Journalists have to adapt to these new conditions. Last week I gave a lecture to first-year journalism students in Oslo. In the talk I put the phenomenon of rumours in social media into context and gave the students some tips on how to use the means they have available to check facts. The last slide contains links to a excellent blog posts and papers that contribute to the topic. Elsebeth Frey at Oslo and Akershus University 
College of Applied Sciences was so kind to give me the opportunity to speak in her class about fact checking.

Veröffentlicht in: Technologie

Fact Checking on Social Media: Tales and Hacks

  1. 1. Public Lecture, 01.10.2012 @Oslo and Akershus UniversityCollege of Applied SciencesDepartment of Journalismand Media StudiesJulian Ausserhofer@boomblitzFact Checking on Social MediaTales and Hacks 
  2. 2. 2Julian Ausserhofer‣@boomblitz
  3. 3. 3Fact Checking on Social Media: Today‘s Agenda✓Some Background✓User Generated Videos & Photos✓Twitter
  4. 4. 4 Karl Theodor Maria Nikolaus Johann Jacob Philipp Franz Joseph Sylvester Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl-Theodor_zu_Guttenberg
  5. 5. 5 #guttenplagCrowdsourced fact checking http://de.guttenplag.wikia.com
  6. 6. 6“Publics are communicating […] through complex networks that are bottom-up, top-down as well as side-to-side.” (Ito, 2008: 3)
  7. 7. 7 Unverified information,gossip, rumours, hoaxes, … http://www.triplem.com.au/sydney/funny/photos/hoaxphotos
  8. 8. …in emergency situations, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Earthquake_damage_-_dairy.jpg
  9. 9. … in politics, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1876_Democratic_National_Convention_-_Missouri.jpg
  10. 10. … in elections, http://www.flickr.com/photos/usaid_images/5545404004/
  11. 11. 11 … in protests, CC BY ridus.ru
  12. 12. 12 … about celebrities. CC BY David Shrankbone http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ CC BY Walmart Stores http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Will_Smith_2011,_2.jpg File:Eddie_Murphy_by_David_Shankbone.jpg CC BY Wikipediology http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lil_Kim_Party.jpg CC BY Agência Brasil http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cuba.FidelCastro.02.jpg CC BY jdeeringdavis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/→ Celebrities incorrectly declared dead on Twitter CC BY Renan Facciolo http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ File:Kanye_West_SWU_Music_%26_Arts_Festival_2011_(crop).jpg File:Morgan_Freeman_@_69th_Annual_Golden_Globes_Awards_01_crop.jpg CC BY Alan Light http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Oprah_Winfrey_(2004).jpg CC BY Conny Liegl http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Patrick_Swayze_2006.jpg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Denzel_Washington_cropped.jpg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bill_Cosby_(2010).jpg
  13. 13. 13 Why?
  14. 14. 14Some stories are “too good to be true“. (Bradshaw, 2011) http://www.thepoke.co.uk/index.php/2010/12/08/bad-santa-sends-xmas-message-to-harrods/
  15. 15. 15 Ad Hoc Publics #ouruni #ukriots #wikileaks #arabspring #occupywallstreet(Bruns & Burgess, 2011)
  16. 16. 16 Filter Bubbles(Pariser, 2011) CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 Julian Ausserhofer, Axel Maireder & Axel Kittenberger http://twitterpolitik.net
  17. 17. 17 User Generated Videos and Photos #How to verify them.
  18. 18. 18✓ Check Uploaders history, location. Is he/she a scraper?✓ Use Google street view/maps/satellite to verify locations.✓ Consult other news sources or validated user content.✓ Background noises? Weather? Landscape?✓ Monitor social media traffic: Who shares it?✓ Develop and maintain relationships with the community. (Little, 2011) http://youtu.be/FmhV-ymivJk
  19. 19. 19 Photos: EXIF Data(Carvin, 2011) http://storify.com/acarvin/how-to-debunk-a-geopolitical-rumor-with-your-twitt2
  20. 20. 20 Reverse Image Search
  21. 21. 21 Twitter #How to find sources. #How to verify tweets.
  22. 22. 22 Raid on Osama bin Laden I http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bin_laden_image_2.png
  23. 23. 23 Raid on Osama bin Laden II http://tweetlibrary.com/damon/osamaraidlivetweets
  24. 24. 24Raid on Osama bin Laden III http://tweetlibrary.com/damon/osamaraidlivetweets
  25. 25. 25 #How to find sources.
  26. 26. 26 Have a trustable profile.✓ Get a trustworthy Twitter handle: Short and memorable, no underlines.✓ State your full name.✓ Define the topics you tweet about.
  27. 27. 27 Be reachable.✓ Email address, mobile number.✓ Anonymous contact form.✓ Provide links and affiliations that build authority and trust.
  28. 28. 28 Search✓ Use operators and the advanced search.✓ Search for keywords and hashtags, people and places in differentlanguages and scopes. http://search.twitter.com
  29. 29. 29Follow the sources of important others in the field. (Saldivar, 2012) https://twitter.com/paulbradshaw/following
  30. 30. 30 http://wefollow.com http://twellow.com Useful services
  31. 31. 31 #How to verify tweets.
  32. 32. 32 1. Check the profile
  33. 33. 33www.WhenDidYouJoinTwitter.com
  34. 34. 34✓ When was the account last updated?✓ How many followers and followees?✓Who were the first followers?✓ How many listings?✓ How many addressings?✓ Is there a profile picture?✓ How many fake followers? (Bradshaw, 2011; Silverman, 2011b)
  35. 35. 35 Check for mutual Twitter users.
  36. 36. 36 2. Check the person Google him/her
  37. 37. 37 3. Crowdsource
  38. 38. 38(Silverman, 2011a)
  39. 39. 39Nelson Mandela‘s Twitter death I(Zarrella, 2011)(Silverman, 2011a) CC BY South Africa The Good News / www.sagoodnews.co.za http://danzarrella.com/anatomy-of-a-twitter-death-hoax-rip-nelson-mandela.html#
  40. 40. 40Nelson Mandela‘s Twitter death II(Zarrella, 2011) http://danzarrella.com/anatomy-of-a-twitter-death-hoax-rip-nelson-mandela.html#
  41. 41. 41Guardian: Reading the Riots(Dant & Richards, 2011) http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/interactive/2011/dec/07/london-riots-twitter
  42. 42. 42 Conclusion
  43. 43. 43 Everything is fakeable.Check, double-check, triple-check.
  44. 44. 44Final Decision: Publish or not? 1. How urgent is it?2. What is the damage in case of falsehood? (Verweij, 2012)
  45. 45. 45 You YouThe network has a self-correcting mechanism. But do not rely on it. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/interactive/2011/dec/07/london-riots-twitter
  46. 46. #tusen takkJulian Ausserhoferjulian.ausserhofer@fh-joanneum.at@boomblitz http://ausserhofer.net
  47. 47. Sources 47✓Bradshaw, P. (2011, January 26). Content, Context and Code: Verifying Information Online. Online Journalism Blog.Retrieved from http://onlinejournalismblog.com/2011/01/26/verifying-information-online-content-context-code/✓Bruns, A., & Burgess, J. (2011). The Use of Twitter Hashtags in the Formation of Ad Hoc Publics. Presented at theEuropean Consortium for Political Research Conference, Reykjavik. Retrieved from http://eprints.qut.edu.au/46515/✓Carvin, A. (2011). Israeli weapons In Libya? How @acarvin and his Twitter followers debunked sloppy journalism. Storify.Retrieved from http://storify.com/acarvin/how-to-debunk-a-geopolitical-rumor-with-your-twitt2✓Dant, A., & Richards, J. (2011, December 8). Behind the Rumours: How We Built Our Twitter Riots Interactive. GuardianDatablog. Retrieved from http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/dec/08/twitter-riots-interactive✓Ito, M. (2008). Introduction. In K. Varnelis (Ed.), Networked Publics (pp. 1–14). Cambridge, London: MIT Press.✓Little, M. (2011, May 20). The Human Algorithm. Storyful Blog. Retrieved from http://blog.storyful.com/2011/05/20/the-human-algorithm-2/✓Pariser, E. (2011). The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You. New York: The Penguin Press.✓Saldivar, S. (2012, July 12). How Journalists Can Find Sources on Twitter. Retrieved from http://stevesaldivar.com/blog/2012/07/12/how-journalists-can-find-sources-on-twitter/✓Silverman, C. (2011a, April 8). Is This the World’s Best Twitter Account? Columbia Journalism Review – Behind the News.Retrieved from http://www.cjr.org/behind_the_news/is_this_the_worlds_best_twitter_account.php✓Silverman, C. (2011b, June 3). Best Practices for Social Media Verification. Columbia Journalism Review – The NewsFrontier. Retrieved from http://www.cjr.org/the_news_frontier/best_practices_for_social_medi.php✓Verweij, P. (2012, January 23). 7 Best Practices For Verifying Tweets. d3-media. Retrieved from http://d3-media.blogspot.co.at/2012/01/7-best-practices-for-verifying-tweets.html✓Zarrella, D. (2011, January). Anatomy of a Twitter Death Hoax: “Rip Nelson Mandela.” Retrieved from http://danzarrella.com/anatomy-of-a-twitter-death-hoax-rip-nelson-mandela.html#