Information Forensics: Five Case Studies on How to Verify Crowdsourced Information from Social Media

About the Author:

Patrick Meier

Patrick Meier

Patrick Meier (PhD) is the Director of Crisis Mapping at Ushahidi and the co-Founder of the Crisis Mappers Network.

My 20+ page study on verifying crowdsourced information is now publicly available here as a PDF and here as an open Google Doc for comments. I very much welcome constructive feedback from iRevolution readers so I can improve the piece before it gets published in an edited book next year.

Abstract

False information can cost lives. But no information can also cost lives, especially in a crisis zone. Indeed, information is perishable so the potential value of information must be weighed against the urgency of the situation. Correct information that arrives too late is useless. Crowdsourced information can provide rapid situational awareness, especially when added to a live crisis map. But information in the social media space may not be reliable or immediately verifiable. This may explain why humanitarian (and news) organizations are often reluctant to leverage crowdsourced crisis maps. Many believe that verifying crowdsourced information is either too challenging or impossible.The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that concrete strategies do exist for the verification of geo-referenced crowdsourced social media information.The study first provides a brief introduction to crisis mapping and argues that crowdsourcing is simply non-probability sampling.Next, five case studies comprising various efforts to verify social media are analyzed to demonstrate how different verification strategies work. The five case studies are: Andy Carvin and Twitter; Kyrgyzstan and Skype; BBC’s User-Generated Content Hub; the Standby Volunteer Task Force (SBTF); and U-Shahid in Egypt.The final section concludes the study with specific recommendations.

This blogpost was originally posted at http://irevolution.net/2011/11/29/inform… on November 29, 2011.

One thought on “Information Forensics: Five Case Studies on How to Verify Crowdsourced Information from Social Media

  1. Pingback: Bibliotheken en het Digitale Leven in Maart 2012 | Dee'tjes

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