Even though it's not my day job to fight disinformation, or track global threats like ISIS, I do love all the research that has been done by others. I love reading on these subjects, go over resources. And this week there are a few links that touch such subjects. From researching disinformation on Twitter, to tracking events all over the world:
In early September this year there is the Australian OSINT symposium. The first day will have closed-door sessions for law enforcement, with some interesting sessions on countering terrorism, human trafficking and state actors. The second day is open for all and has speakers like Steve 'Spiderfoot' Micallef and Nico 'Ducht OSINT Guy' Dekens. Topics include disinformation, information manipulation, fighting extremism online and human rights. And there's even a third day, that will be filled with training by OSINT Combine. All profits will be donated to counter-human trafficking non-profits, so help them out and get a ticket now.
Loránd Bodó shared some of his favourite tools when it comes to Twitter data. Tweetbeaver is known to most people I think, but still good to mention it here. Accountanalysis is new and offers some really nice in-depth analysis after you connect with a Twitter account. The paid option offers some more features, but the free tier gives you a nice idea what it can do already. And even though it was featured in Week in OSINT 2018–38, Hoaxy is relevant more than ever. Built by the university of Indiana, it can help fighting disinformation that spreads around the Twitterverse. You can search for specific articles and see how it has been shared online.
Connected to Hoaxy, that was mentioned above, is a study that was done by George Washington University and was shared by Ludo Block. They've been mapping online hate networks on six major social media platforms, and analyse the spread of dis/misinformation on Covid-19. They provide insight into how several platforms are connected, and that
Something that stands out to me is, that they never looked at accounts themselves but investigated the so called 'hate clusters', by looking at the content of posts, and the links that were shared between the clusters. In the web version of this article, you can look at the supplementary information that contains some more in-depth information of their research.
I had a look at the data that Hoaxy provided and noticed something I didn't spot before. And though it's probably known to many, I can't remember ever reading about it, or seeing it in action. There is a URL that can open a Twitter account via it's UID Unique identifier). This can be used to track accounts that switch names on a regular basis, since the UID stays the same:
After opening it, it will direct you to the account, and show a pop-up telling you that you can now follow the account. The URL in the address bar will also change, to reflect the current username of the Twitter account.
Time to declutter your browser tabs with a single click! This extension or add-on will save all your currently open tabs into a folder, for late access. If you have way too many tabs open (like me) and need to declutter your browser fast, this little tool will quickly release used memory and give you more oversight of your browser. Thanks for the share Loránd!
Lucas Webber shared a link to an initiative that tracks threats all over the world. By using data-analysis, the 'Early Warning Research hub' tries to predict events that might occur. You can research past events, find links to sources, risk indexes, global threats and more. This is absolutely one to bookmark for future reference!
Have a good week and have a good search!