Basic Social Media Intelligence (SOCMINT) Tools To Help Fight Disinformation

Over the past year, I’ve had a significant increase in the number of client requests for custom consulting and/or training help relating to combating the spread of disinformation. I thought I’d share some recent slides (edited to remove any client sensitive information of course), where I provide some useful tools for any newbies to the field of OSINT / SOCMINT.

But first, what the heck am I talking about?

Disinformation is false information spread deliberately to deceive. The English word disinformation is a loan translation of the Russian “dezinformatsiya”, derived from the title of a KGB black propaganda department.

Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)
Data collected from publicly available sources to be used in an intelligence context. In the intelligence community, the term “open” refers to overt, publicly available sources.

Social Media Intelligence (SOCMINT)
A subset of OSINT that gathers information exclusively from social media sites. It is typically analyzed from two layers – one, the original published content and two, the associated metadata.

The later (SOCMINT) in particular is a major focus area of many public sector communications and marketing initiatives as they have realized that even big budget on-message and on-target campaigns can’t compete against botnets run by digital-savvy actors leveraging micro-influencer networks and the power of big social data.

In my slides (embedded below and also linked here) I provide examples of some of my favourite legitimacy verification tools (e.g. fotoforensics.com) , network visualization tools (gephi.org), and social search tools (inteltechniques.com), all of which are publicly available. And while not all of these tools are as robust as some of the much more expensive solutions out there, they are a great starting point for anyone currently running communications/marketing initiatives with very little situational awareness surrounding their topic area.

For those interested, I should mention that I’ll be covering potential uses of some of these tools in a comms context during my upcoming digital / social media strategy workshops. Details can be found on my upcoming training page.

Enjoy, and please do let me know if you have any favourites that I missed!

 

Integrating Social Data into Decision Making (5 Free Tools)

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Having worked on numerous digital/social organizational strategies for the better part of the last decade, I find that I still occasionally run into organizational leaders that haven’t yet integrated social data into their decision making.

At most of today’s marketing conferences and events, and in modern business literature, the bulk of attention is given to reaching and engaging with your audience on social media.  This is great, but it often misses the low-hanging fruit and far less resource intensive element of the social channel, which is the act of researching and analyzing your audience using public data generated by these social tools.

Let me give you some context by starting off with a few recent statistics:

  • World Population: 7.2 Billion
  • Active Internet Users: 3.o Billion
  • Active Social Media Accounts: 2.1 Billion
  • Number of Data Bytes Created Every Day : 2.5 Quintillion (that’s 18 zeros)

Out of those 2.1 Billion active social media accounts, it can be safely assumed that somewhere between 20% and 25% are regular content creators, not just lurkers or spectators. Therefore in effect, we’re looking at about 500 Million people regularly creating new data and metadata to feed the massive global social dataset. And while admittedly most of actual complex data mining is happening behind the firewalls of Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon, there are numerous free tools available that allow you to access a good chunk of this data, since much of it is in the public domain. Continue reading “Integrating Social Data into Decision Making (5 Free Tools)”