First Draft researchers Madelyn Webb and Bethan John explore the complexities and contradictions of calls for increased transparency around online advertising.

Image: First Draft Illustration

As misinformation researchers, we spend a lot of time thinking about online advertising. We dig through ad libraries, monitor platforms’ announcements, and publish investigations into how disinformation agents are bending the rules.

We rely on social media platforms to give us information to do this. But the experience of working within platforms’ parameters has left us with a question: Can transparency be a trap?

In 2017, Facebook announced it was building a searchable archive of US federal election- related…


First Draft’s head of impact and policy, Tommy Shane, explores how keywords related to rumor can help us understand and respond to dangerous activities online.

If you’re a reporter, getting your queries right really matters.

In 2015, Daniel Victor of The New York Times was searching for witnesses to an incident on a plane involving a female passenger and a Hasidic Jewish man who didn’t feel comfortable sitting next to her. Victor found that querying for “hasidic” and “flight” on social media brought up a lot of people talking about the incident, but not people who were actually there.

But…


First Draft’s research analyst, Seb Cubbon, explores how data deficits get exploited by disinformation actors, and how we can get ahead of them.

Until very recently, mRNA (messenger ribonucleic Acid) vaccine technology and vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) were still considered highly specialized, niche topics. But following the recent Pfizer and Moderna announcements, as well as the subsequent VDPV outbreaks in central Africa, these topics have suddenly risen to prominence. And their rise has been accompanied by worryingly high levels of mis- and disinformation.

We call these situations “data deficits”: where high levels of demand for information about a specific topic are…


First Draft’s head of policy and impact, Tommy Shane, explores how our technology affects what misinformation we do and don’t see.

“The ocean twilight zone is a layer of water that stretches around the globe … below the ocean surface, just beyond the reach of sunlight … the twilight zone is cold and its light is dim, but with flashes of bioluminescence — light produced by living organisms. The region teems with life.”

Heidi M. Sosik, 2018

There’s been a lot of debate recently about “Facebook’s Top 10,” a Twitter account that lists “the top-performing link posts by U.S…


First Draft’s head of policy and impact, Tommy Shane, explores what questions we need to ask to provide better information during the next pandemic.

“Covid-19 is neither the first nor the last health emergency we will face. My fellow scientists estimate that we will face a pandemic or health emergency at least once every five years from here on. There is a chance that this is the optimistic scenario. The reality could be far worse.”

Sally Davies, former Chief Medical Officer for England, writing for The Guardian

What could we do better next time?

This is the question we need…


First Draft’s head of policy and impact, Tommy Shane, explores how different ways of knowing can create vulnerabilities online.

This article is part of First Draft’s new Footnotes publication. Read more about what we want to achieve and inspire with this new body of work.

When we think about disinformation, we tend to focus on narratives.

5G causes coronavirus. Bill Gates is trying to depopulate the planet. We’re being controlled by lizards.

But while narratives are concerning and compelling, there is another way of thinking about online disinformation. …


First Draft director and co-founder, Claire Wardle, introduces our revamped Medium publication as the organisation turns five years old.

In the summer of 2015, First Draft published its first Medium post. The website came slightly later, and with it the flurry of articles, guides, videos, resources, studies, courses and quizzes that have come to define the organisation’s work at the forefront of understanding information disorder.

On the one hand, the topics that inspired the creation of the First Draft coalition five years ago are as relevant as ever. The three tags accompanying that first post are ‘verification,’ ‘UGC’ and ‘eyewitness…


New research sheds light on the impact of collaborative attempts to slow down the spread of misinformation in the lead up to elections.


We are thrilled to announce that First Draft is expanding: We are planning election projects in Argentina, Australia, Canada, Indonesia, South Africa, Spain and Uruguay, plus a cross-border project to investigate misinformation tactics and trends in Europe. To do this work, we have posted the following jobs for our London and New York offices:

London

Coming soon:
Office Manager
Team and Training Assistant
Product Manager
Digital Content Producer
Digital/UX Designer
Digital Content Editor…


We are recruiting for editorial, research, training and digital production positions to support collaborative verification throughout the world in 2019

We are building on our pioneering work around elections in the US, France, UK, Germany, Brazil and Nigeria to support the development of sustainable, collaborative efforts globally in 2019. We have plans to support projects in Argentina, Australia, Canada, India, Indonesia, South Africa, Spain and Uruguay, plus a cross-border project to investigate misinformation tactics and trends in Europe. To do this work, we are thrilled to announce the following jobs in our London and New York offices:

London

First Draft

We work to protect communities across the world from harmful information.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store