Verifying Social Media Content: The Best Links, Case Studies and Discussion

Since I began covering journalist arrests and press suppression in real-time via social media I have developed a healthy obsession with verification. As the tools we use to report online continue to shift, we need verification to keep up. A great example of this is how Instagram filters or Vine jump-clips might hinder efforts to verify images and video from breaking news. Below is my directory of links and resources for verifying social media content – it is a work in progress.

Update: In early 2014 the European Journalism Center released the Verification Handbook which pulls together many of the lessons from the links below. I highly recommend it as a starting place for anyone interested in these issues.

skepticalI have been collecting these links for awhile, but a recent study profiled over at Poynter inspired me to post my list here. The study  showed little consistency in how journalists approach assessing the accuracy of social media content. The links below are presented in no particular order, but are organized into three categories: How-To Guides, Case-Studies, Discussions and Studies. A note on scope: The resources below are specifically and purposefully limited to verifying social media and user generated content. General reporting accuracy is not covered in depth here.

Thanks to Steve Buttry and Craig Silverman who have also done great round-up posts in the past (linked below).

It’s a big web out there, so if you know of resources I have missed, please leave them in the comments section and I’ll continue to update this list.

How-To Guides: Blog posts, reports and papers outlining tips and techniques for social media verification.

Case-Studies: Articles about verification projects or processes at other newsrooms and organizations.

Discussions and Studies: Good debates about verification and studies that explore key aspects of this work.


  1. Madeleine says:

    Nice roundup. The Human Rights Channel ( is curating a blog series on Citizen Video for Journalists (, including an entry on verification by Storyful’s Della Kilroy. A Q&A there with Andy Carvin also has some good tips.

  2. cygnoir says:

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    This is an important post, particularly in light of recent events. Please read and circulate.

  3. Karen says:

    Reblogged this on Muddled Media Machinations and commented:
    Interesting considering the fake/not fake debate on the pic of suspect with white hat at new angle which has just surfaced.

  4. thesustainablehome says:

    Reblogged this on thesustainablehome and commented:
    There have been , over the years, many stories passed around that I have not posted here. I chose not to because, after a little (or a lot) of research, I could not verify the accuracy of what was being reported. I may spout off (usually in person) but when it comes to sharing online, I am much more skeptical. These are some fantastic tips/links about social media verification.

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