How to Save Online Evidence and Why It Matters: Part One

As journalists we are used to saving information. We securely store documents, keep meticulous notes, save and back up important emails on our computers. But what about the information we find online during the course of our investigations? There are a few important issues to bear in mind and a few techniques you might want to consider. But, firstly, why is any of this important? Information Changes Content gets removed. Websites

How to Find Information on Facebook. Part 2

Our previous article about Facebook searches discussed how to use the Graph Search tool and what useful information can be retrieved with its help. But when working with Graph Search, some problems may appear: for example, at times it does not process search requests or does not recognize Cyrillic script. Graph Search became reliable at the end of December, 2014, when Facebook dropped its partnership with Bing. The search algorithm

How to Find Information in Facebook

Facebook users very often have a need to find some photo of video files. For instance, how to find images of the Kyiv center during Euromaidan? First of all let’s have a look at Graph Search. This is a quite powerful search engine operating with special commands in the form of questions in English. Facebook search is more appropriate for personal ends – to find people with common interests, restaurants,

How to Find Information about a Website and Its Owner

On September 24, the Kharkov.News agency falsely reported that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, being drunk, had been allegedly removed from a Kyiv-Moscow flight. StopFake has already explained why the news is fake. But let’s look at the website of the Kharkov.News agency, The page “About the Agency” contains the following address: Luhansk People’s Republic, Luhansk, Pochtova Street 2. It means that the website openly supports pro-Russian militants in eastern

How to Find the Source of a Photo

When searching for information to confirm or refute an image’s authenticity, you should take into account three things: the date, place, and source of the image. Here, we are going to focus on the source. Image Search First of all, the original photo can be found with the help of a Google image search, which is described in detail in our article “How to Identify a Fake.” This tool allows

Tips to Make a Google Search Easier

Today we are going to look among search solutions offered to us by Google. Fortunately, basic search operators spare us from great investigative efforts. The «OR» and «–» operators are the most common in everyday use. With these operators, as with Twitter, we can look for a website containing one or several queried words in one place. For instance, the query [Nayyem OR Leshchenko] would direct us to websites containing

Searching the Earth: Essential geolocation tools for verification

By Eliot Higgins from Bellingcat, for The First Draft As verification and open source investigation techniques and methodologies have developed over the last few years, so have the various tools and platforms used to access the information that makes this kind of work possible. In this article, we examine some of these tools, and the different uses they have in the verification and investigation process. Googling Earth For many investigations,

How to Avoid Spending Eternity on a Twitter Search

Let’s begin by asking, could you find original witness tweets on Twitter about the crash of Malaysia Airlines MH17 in Ukraine? It is not enough to pick the correct search words to obtain swift results. Instead, it requires narrowing the search and using the search operators offered by Twitter. Let’s look through these operators and their functions. The simplest operators – And & Or – are helping us to use

The new smartphone application as a tool of justice

Let’s begin with this video. This footage became a piece of key evidence in the trial against Thomas Lubanga Dyilo. He was found guilty by the International Criminal Court of using children under the age of fifteen in the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo as soldiers and bodyguards. This video evidence was captured by a local human rights activist, Bukeni Waruzi, with the support of Witness, an international

How to Search Photos on Social Networks

To begin, let’s solve a puzzle. On what street in Yalta is the wall painted with the Ukrainian flag? The picture was posted recently. It is quite difficult to find it with a Google search. However, there are other useful methods to do it. In the previous article, we discussed how to identify a location with metadata. But geolocation (from metadata, as well as from social network sites) can not

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