Disinformation literacy
for concerned people

Basic Detection

In-app Verification - Facebook

Facebook has recently begun adding some level of fact-checking to content posted on Facebook and Instagram. When a post contains false content, it is flagged and you can see why the content was labeled as potentially false.

Further, when you see posts from Facebook, you can click the "i" for some basic information on why you are seeing a given ad or post.


Twitter has also had to respond to public pressure and implemented basic fact-checking tools, as well as compliance with community standards. Earlier this year, Twitter labeled video and content that contained manipulated media. During the COVID crisis for example, Twitter implemented a policy of labeling content that goes against authoritative sources regarding public health and then providing links to the public health sources.
Twitter will also label posts that contain misleading information about elections and elections policy. The tweet below from Trump about mail-n ballots labeled with a notice to “Get the facts about mail-in ballots” and a link to objective, official sources.
Tweets that are determined to glorify violence or harm will be made inaccessible.

Verification and Fact-Checking

The following organizations are dedicated to providing information and resources on disinformation detection. 

  • FirstDraftNews – While this nonprofit was initially created for journalists, their resources are valuable for anyone who wants to better understand this problem. We cite First Draft’s work numerous times on this website and their founder, Claire Wardle is an internationally-recognized leader in disinformation education. FirstDraft defines these 5 Pillars of Visual Verification when looking at material:

    • Provenance: Are you looking at the original piece of content? ​

    • Source: Who captured/created the original piece of content?

    • Date: When was the piece of content captured/created?

    • Location: Where was the piece of content captured/created?

    • Motivation: Why was the piece of content captured/created?

​The following set of videos is from CTRL-F a group that provides training on verification. Here is a video with Jane Lytvynenko, a Disinformation Reporter for Buzzfeed news talking about the importance of verification:

This video from the Poynter Institute provides tips for fact-checking on Whatsapp.
This quick video shows you how to use the Facebook “i” to learn more about a post.

Identifying Bots

There are a number of Twitter bot checking tools that you can add to your browser. Two of the most widely used are: Botcheck.me – This is a plugin for Chrome browsers. Adding Botcheck allows you to check the likelihood that an account is a bot when you are on Twitter. With botcheck.me installed, a bot icon will appear within each account. If you suspect an account may be fake, click on the bot icon for any account and it will indicate whether that account is suspected bot. As we can see here, “Vicky” is a likely bot.

Bot Sentinel – https://botsentinel.com/ – Bot Sentinel is both a browser plugin and a service that analyzes real-time bot activity on Twitter. The dashboard presents statistics the describe bot activity, such as the top hashtags and phrases being tweeted by bots.

When Bot Sentinel is installed, it will also flag up tweets from known, untrustworthy sources by displaying the message in red. Interesting to note who comes up as untrustworthy:

Identifying Fake Facebook content

Facebook does not have the same sorts of tools that are available with Twitter. Facebook is more of a closed platorm. Below are some resources to help

  • Take this New York Times Spot Fake Facebook Quiz and learn to distinguish the differences between real and fake Facebook content.

  • Here are Facebook’s instructions for detecting fake accounts: How to identify fake facebook accounts. 

  • If you’re on Facebook and you suspect an account is falsified, then you can report it. Here are Facebook’s instructions for reporting fake accounts.

  • Facebook has created a tool on this page “How can I see if I’ve liked or followed a Facebook Page or Instagram account created by the Internet Research Agency?” to detect if you unwittingly shared content created by the IRA. You need to be logged into Facebook for this to work. The same tool also works for checking Instagram.

  • Unfortunately, there aren’t the same types of bot-detector tools for Facebook as there are for Twitter. The best prevention is literacy, looking for warning signs and not sharing any content that might be disinformation, no matter how tempting.

  • Bear in mind that the purpose of disinformation is to divide. It can masquerade as the right or the left. It can even pose as an employer.