Good news for investigators: The European Journalism Center today published a handbook on how to use and verify user-generated content in in-depth investigations. It is a companion handbook to the original Verification Handbook, which focused on breaking news, and includes my chapter on using user-generated content in human rights investigations.
The need for such a resource is enormous. Both journalists and human rights investigators are increasingly confronted with a torrent of citizen media shared through digital social networks in real-time. The risks of overlooking relevant content or getting it outright wrong are very real. However, the benefits of effectively and ethically integrating open source materials into in-depth investigations are huge. Continue reading New Verification Handbook For Investigative Work
Featured picture: Image extracted from one of the analyzed videos, showing what appears to be a member of the Nigerian military. The uniform has the words “Borno State Operation Flush” emblazoned. Note: parts of this picture have been blurred due to its graphic nature.
Gruesome video footage, images and testimonies gathered by Amnesty International provide fresh evidence of war crimes, including extrajudicial executions, and other serious human rights violations being carried out in north-eastern Nigeria as the fight by the military against Boko Haram and other armed groups intensifies.
The footage, obtained from numerous sources during a recent trip to Borno state, reveals graphic evidence of multiple war crimes being carried out in Nigeria.
Continue reading Nigeria: Gruesome footage implicates military in war crimes
In the week of July 21, 2014, New Tactics in Human Rights facilitated a fantastic and much needed discussion on using video as evidence. The conversation is available online, and below is a video that addresses some of the most pertinent issues.
Learn the fundamentals of video validation by assessing a sample video from YouTube in our step-by-step guide (a.k.a “Stress Test”). An answer key will be provided at the end of the exercise.
It is possible to extract hidden information from YouTube video. This can be a relatively cumbersome process that can be simplified through our YouTube Data Viewer.
Step 1: Go to the YouTube Data Viewer
Step 2: Enter the URL of your video and hit enter Continue reading How To: Extract Exact Upload Time And Thumbnails From YouTube Videos
A “reverse image search” allows you to search the internet for previous versions of the same picture. This is crucial for determining if an old image is being “recycled” as new. Especially during emergencies, old pictures are often posted online, and go viral due to uncritical re-sharing through social networks (this happens regularly both during complex emergencies and natural disasters).
Further, a reverse image search can also allow you to track down the original uploader of an image.
Tip: A reverse image search can also be highly useful to track down previous versions of YouTube videos! In this case, perform a reverse image search with the thumbnails that are created by YouTube when uploading a video (all three thumbnails created by YouTube can be extracted through the YouTube Data Viewer).
Continue reading How To: Perform A Reverse Image Search