Providing a birds eye view of disinformation spread
A year ago, we noticed automated accounts spreading disinformation (information spread with the intent to mislead) on Twitter. Last October, hacking on the kitchen table in our apartment, we launched Botcheck.me to help defend people from propaganda bots.
Since then, much has changed on the topic of fake news and the spread of disinformation online. For one, groups (like Twitter) have publicly come out and acknowledged that they do indeed have a problem. In addition, countless intelligence agencies have disclosed that our democratic process is being influenced online. The data that we’ve seen corroborates both of these accounts.
In the past year, a lot has changed for us. We’ve grown from a couple students hacking on an extended school project into an eight-person team with the mission of protecting the public from those who intend to disinform. The insights that we’ve gathered and the products that we’ve launched have allowed us to advise some of the largest organizations in domestic politics and protect tens of thousands of people.
A lot has also changed for the groups that create disinformation. As our defenses have improved, so have these digital weapons and tactics that are used on us.
We now have ability to monitor bot behavior with Botcheck and amplified media with SurfSafe. In the sea of information, these products give us the ability to shine a light on where we should be looking for disinformation.
As company, we started an internal conversation on how we could make this raw data more accessible for those who inform the public, write the stories, and check the facts. The outcome of this conversation was the decision to build a service that would empower these people by tracking the most amplified and viral content.
Today, we’re launching launching Factcheck.me to empower those who check the facts. In the midst of a crisis, Factcheck.me can be deployed to start listening and give a birds eye view of the digital battlefield.
As of today, Factcheck.me tracks bot activity, amplified images, and viral links.
We ran two deployments of Factcheck.me on Sunday for both the topics of the Immigrant Caravan (regarding the Immigrant Caravan from Guatemala) and the Pittsburg Shootings. Starting today, in the midst of any crisis, a Factcheck.me deployment can be requested by reaching out to email@example.com with a topic or event that you want to track.
Team @ RBL