The following organizations are dedicated to providing information and resources on disinformation detection.
FirstDraftNews - While this nonprofit was initially created for journalists, their resources are valuable for anyone who wants to better understand this problem. We cite First Draft's work numerous times on this website and their founder, Claire Wardle is an internationally-recognized leader in disinformation education.
FullFact.org - This UK-based nonprofit that was started by cross-party groups, and much of their fact-checking relates to UK elections. They provide a simple toolkit that includes basic guidelines for identifying false content, such as manipulated image, video and poll results. Here is a direct link to the FullFact toolkit. Here is their explainer on conducting a reverse image check, which is the best way to detect whether an image has been used previously.
LeadStories is a collective of writers and reporters who are dedicated to "hunting for fake news." Stories of fake news and disinformation hoaxes large and small are continuously updated on their site. In addition, they use the Trendolizer Engine, which tracks stories and the numbers of likes, shares views. By looking at current trends, it is possible to detect those stories that are trending at an unnaturally high or unusual rate.
Exploiting the Niche is dedicated to exposing online disinformation practices by disinformation. The website and Facebook page are great to follow and learn about how disinformation is detected. Understanding detection provides insights into the nuances of disinformation.
Social Media Today, a resource for social media-related news provides this graphic that includes basic guidelines for detecting disinformation online.
It is not surprising that the Indivisible network also has a number of troll accounts posing as Indivisible groups, luring shares, likes, and even donations. An Indivisible troll discovery, Indivisible Network, provides opportunity to demonstrate the telltale signs of a troll account.
We reported the Twitter account and after a few tries, it was removed. However, Indivisible Network's website and Facebook page are still live. And still collecting email addressess and donations.
There are a number of Twitter bot checking tools that you can add to your browser. Two of the most widely used are:
Botcheck.me - This is a plugin for Chrome browsers. Adding Botcheck allows you to check the likelihood that an account is a bot when you are on Twitter. With botcheck.me installed, a bot icon will appear within each account. If you suspect an account may be fake, click on the bot icon for any account and it will indicate whether that account is suspected bot. As we can see here, "Vicky" is a likely bot.
Bot Sentinel - - Bot Sentinel is both a browser plugin and a service that analyzes real-time bot activity on Twitter. The dashboard presents statistics the describe bot activity, such as the top hashtags and phrases being tweeted by bots.
When Bot Sentinel is installed, it will also flag up tweets from known, untrustworthy sources by displaying the message in red. Interesting to note who comes up as untrustworthy:
Spotting Fake Facebook content
Facebook does not have the same sorts of tools that are available with Twitter. Facebook is more of a closed platorm. Below are some resources to help
Take this New York Times Spot Fake Facebook Quiz and learn to distinguish the differences between real and fake Facebook content.
Here are Facebook's instructions for detecting fake accounts: How to identify fake facebook accounts.
If you're on Facebook and you suspect an account is falsified, then you can report it. Here are Facebook's instructions for reporting fake accounts.
Facebook has created a tool on this page "How can I see if I've liked or followed a Facebook Page or Instagram account created by the Internet Research Agency?" to detect if you unwittingly shared content created by the IRA. You need to be logged into Facebook for this to work. The same tool also works for checking Instagram.
Unfortunately, there aren't the same types of bot-detector tools for Facebook as there are for Twitter. The best prevention is literacy, looking for warning signs and not sharing any content that might be disinformation, no matter how tempting.
Bear in mind that the purpose of disinformation is to divide. It can masquerade as the right or the left. It can even pose as an employer.