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Agence France-Presse's Strategy For Using CrowdTangle Search and Meme Search to Report Misinformation
Agence France-Presse's Strategy For Using CrowdTangle Search and Meme Search to Report Misinformation

AFP has leveraged CrowdTangle tools as they track misinformation around topics including COVID-19

Written by Tess
Updated over a week ago

Key Takeaways:

  • Search for keywords on CrowdTangle Search to see how information is spreading on Facebook, Instagram, Reddit and Twitter.

  • Filter using Meme Search to identify all the memes associated with that content on Facebook and Instagram.

  • Use overperforming as a score to help judge virality of a post.

How AFP Uses CrowdTangle:

With information about major world events like COVID-19 being shared heavily on social media, it’s more important than ever to find and debunk false claims on the platform. Agence France-Presse is a leading global fact-checking organization and one of Facebook’s fact-checking partners. We spoke to them to see how they are using CrowdTangle to help identify misinformation and track where it is being spread.

Above: CrowdTangle Search

“We mainly use CrowdTangle to look at keywords related to claims we’re trying to debunk,” says Sophie Nicholson, AFP’s deputy head of social networks and fact-checking.

“When there are global topics provoking large numbers of rumours, such as the novel coronavirus outbreak, we use CrowdTangle to look for claims.”

Sophie explains that at the very beginning of fact-checks, AFP uses CrowdTangle Search to identify how viral that content is. They input keywords from the post, or the URL of an article, and see who else is sharing similar information.

“Searching for keywords directly on each platform doesn’t always give good results. The same searches on the CrowdTangle Search platform are faster and also more helpful, since we can usually find more posts and refine searches too.”

One key feature the AFP fact-checking team uses is the ability to search for text on images, or Meme Search. This allows them to identify the spread of misinformation through images and memes — something they were unable to do before.

Marisha Goldhammer, who leads AFP’s North American fact-checking program, explains how they use CrowdTangle’s overperforming score, a calculation which helps to identify trending content, to track memes: “If we spot a post on a page or in a group we're already tracking through our digests, it allows us to quickly see where else the meme has been shared. This can help us determine whether the content has reached a threshold to merit a fact-check.”

AFP uses CrowdTangle’s overperforming score to gut-check if a piece of misinformation is spreading rapidly.

“The results display also makes it really easy to spot if one account has shared a meme to multiple groups,” Marisha says. “This has helped us improve our lists tracking suspicious pages and accounts.”

“Since we started using meme search we have definitely found and rated significantly more copycat posts than we would have through native search in Facebook.”

Meme Search is found in CrowdTangle’s Search tool, on the right-hand column.

Get more: How AFP and Politifact Use CrowdTangle For Fact Checking. Watch here.

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