After 15 months of development, with around 15 people involved and about 15 organizations testing it and providing feedback, Truly Media is finally entering the commercial market. The Google DNI project, formerly known as Verify Media and carried about by DW’s Research & Cooperations Projects (DW Innovation) and ATC’s iLab, has come to a successful end. The result of all this effort is a commercial verification platform that allows journalists to aggregate and verify User-Generated-Content (UGC) in real-time. A key asset: all this can be done collaboratively.
Achieving our goal – step by step
The idea of the team behind Truly Media was to develop a verification platform that improves the journalistic workflow of aggregating, curating, verifying, and publishing UGC. In short: to make the life of journalists easier.
Right from the start of development, the project team had very close relations with journalists working for the Social Media News Desk at DW. Surveys were conducted, interviews were carried out – all with the aim to find out more about journalistic needs and requirements regarding the verification of social media content.
With their responses on record and experiences gained in the EU co-funded research project Reveal, we then started drawing a picture of a platform that contains the essential features and tools every journalist needs when working on UGC verification.
Truly makes your working life easier
The outcome of our work is a collaborative verification platform. It lets journalists verify photos, videos, text, and social media accounts in real-time. All this can be done collaboratively within a single newsroom, across different media companies, or together with individual journalists working anywhere in the world.
Truly Media’s main features are outlined below:
You can search and monitor social media content from several sources like social platforms and networks (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, VKontakte, Slack, and more). You can then filter your search like you are used to on Tweetdeck, and translate the content from any language into English. Content can also be added conveniently from social platforms via a Chrome plugin. Or just upload photos and videos manually, or add websites to a so-called ”collection” (= a kind of container that stores content initially deemed relevant in an investigation).
After setting up search streams you can start dragging the most relevant items for your story from the streams right into a collection you have created. This is where the teamwork starts. Inside every collection you can invite people to work with you and have them add additional items as well. All collection members can chat with each other, e.g. to delegate tasks during the verification process. Status icons ensure that everybody is aware of who is working on what, making the whole process transparent to everyone involved.
Each item in a collection needs to be verified before it is published. This can be a laborious process of collecting clues and answers to specific questions, such as “could the user really be where he claims to be?” All this is work that needs to be done in order to find out if a claim is true or false.
On the verification page of Truly Media we implemented a checklist that provides users a structure to follow and to make sure they have collected every important piece of information needed to make a final decision on the veracity of a content item. Integrated third party tools like Google Maps or TinEye support this process. Once an item is verified, it can be marked as such, and all team members can see the status of the item. It can then be published with the proper credentials and status.
Truly Media is self-explanatory, fast, and transparent. It allows for further connections to specific newsroom tools like Slack or Scribble Live to be integrated into existing newsroom workflows.
The end is just the beginning
Truly Media is no longer a Google DNI-funded project. It has matured and now passed from beta status to commercially available product. This means that – should you be interested – you can buy a license to use Truly Media in your organization. The platform is useful in particular for editorial departments (especially in newsrooms), media organizations in general and fact-checkers – in other words: any group of people that have to deal with and verify user-generated content.
If you are interested in becoming a user and license holder of Truly Media, please get in touch via the Truly Media website. We are looking forward to hearing from you.
(Julia Bayer, Jochen Spangenberg)
Disclaimer: Truly Media has been co-developed by ATC (Greece) and Deutsche Welle (Germany). It builds on work carried out in EC co-funded research projects, in particular REVEAL, and was supported by Google´s DNI Fund (Digital News Initiative) – project name: Verify Media.