Key Takeaways:

  • DPA uses CrowdTangle to spot suspect posts as they start to overperform on Facebook and Instagram.
  • The team builds lists in CrowdTangle of pages they follow and inspect on a regular basis.
  • These tools have made DPA's work more efficient and targeted.

Digital tools are crucial to fact-checking as journalists and researchers hunt down and identify misinformation. Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA), a global news agency based in Germany and is part of Facebook’s third-party fact-checking program, helping to identify and review false news. Among the tools they use, CrowdTangle is at the top.

How DPA Uses CrowdTangle to Discover Possible New Fact-Checks

As DPA’s head of verification, Stefan Voss, outlined in an email, CrowdTangle makes his work easier by “summarizing” what is happening on known misinformation pages they might be monitoring.

“Our editors see a post in [CrowdTangle], then export it out of the tool and start digging deeper into the subject. We double check numbers or quotes or whatever the post is about and trying to spread/sell.”

Stefan explains that their team hunts anything that is “fact-checkable.”

“Current public topics, discussions or news have a major impact on false content being spread.”

Live Displays: DPA Has Built a Fact-Checking Live Display to Monitor Questionable Content in Real Time

The DPA team has built out Lists of pages that have previously shared misinformation and relies on Lists to monitor known actors that might spread misinformation on issues like climate change or the refugee crisis in Europe. Taking it a step further, DPA has plugged these Lists into a CrowdTangle Live Display.

“For the fact-checking team, we have generated a [Live Display] composed of lists we try to constantly update,” Stefan says.

What you see is a snapshot of real-time updates from pages the DPA team is monitoring. This helps them stay ahead of possible major viral posts, and allows their team to keep an eye on pages they’re most interested in. The Live Display allows you to filter posts based on what is overperforming, or what was posted most recently.

Lists: Monitoring Known Pages That Spread Misinfo

DPA updates Lists with new accounts or public groups that were previously spotted via Facebook‘s fact-checking tool or through their own investigations.

“We do not include every account into the CrowdTangle Lists, only accounts that seem very active in spreading false info.”

These Lists are tied to CrowdTangle notifications — Digests and Viral Alerts. Alerts can be funneled into Slack, and DPA’s fact-checking team scans these Slack channels regularly to flag and collect posts which they hope to look into more deeply.

Other Tools

DPA uses a number of other tools for their fact-checking work. Stefan lists the Facebook fact-checking tool (flagged posts by users), CrowdTangle and Tweetdeck as top tools. Editors might sometimes use their personal Facebook or Instagram account. Their breaking news team uses Dataminr, ScatterBlogs, Storyclash, and Tweetdeck.


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