Doing a Digital investigation might seem like the job of a highly skilled journalist, but what if I say it’s not, what if you need the right tool and the right idea, to begin with. In this how-to article, I’ll give you a step-wise demonstration of how-to-use the most loved digital investigation tool by a journalist- InVid.
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This is a free tool that does not require much technical knowledge to work with, it’s merely a browser extension that helps you out in your foot-printing. This tool is made by Condat AG, and its sole purpose was to help journalists verify news-worthy user-generated videos or photos. It’s a European product and has been said the be ‘The swiss army knife’ of digital investigation. And since it has too many features, to begin with, I’ll be instructing how to use this tool in a step-by-step guide in this article.
Let’s focus on installing this application first, the addon is available for two browsers, Firefox and Chrome.
Installing InVid on Chrome:
Step 1: Click on Add to Chrome button.
Step 2: Click on Add extension to add this as your browser addon.
Step 3: Click on Turn on Sync, this will enable the extension on other devices that are synchronised with your Google account. I would recommend to not do this for safety reason.
Step 4: Click on the Puzzle icon, and you’ll find ‘Fake News debunker by inVid’. Click on the pin icon to add it into your browser toolbar.
Step 5: Now start looking for content to verify.
Installing InVid on Firefox:
Step 1: Download the zip file.
Step 2: Extract the .zip file.
Step 3: Select the. Xpi file, Right-click, and select open with firefox.
Step 4: A new tab will open, and you’ll see a pop-up for permission. Click on Add button to install the addon.
Step 5: Click on, Okay, Got it to finish the installation process.
Step 6: You’ll now be able to see an InVid icon in your browser toolbar.
How to use InVid?
This extension is easy to use once you get the hang of it. And for your understanding, I’ll be demonstrating how to fact-check a misleading video clip in this step-by-step guide. The video I’m going to use is just for demonstration purpose, and it is already verified by several fact-checking websites.
On August 11, 2020, Sandeep Mishra a Twitter user posted a video of two women falling into roadside drainage and claimed that the video is from Delhi, India.
The video went viral and received 1800 retweets and 4100 likes, however when I fact-check this video with InVid, the information is quite surprising.
Step 1: Open InVid page by clicking on the InVid icon at the toolbar.
Step 2: Click on Analysis.
Step 3: Copy and paste the video URL in the textbox, and press submit.
Step 4: Once done, you’ll be able to see results like details of the video, details of the user who posted it and at the end few thumbnails from the video.
Step 5: Click on Google Image Reverse search, you’ll be redirected to Google, and there will be various search results related to the picture.
Step 6: Now, it’s research and dedication that will help you find the original source of the video. So, go back and Try the Yandex Images Search, and Tinyeye as well. Explore as much as you can, you’ll find the source.
Via Yandex I found that the video was uploaded by a YouTube channel, Kazmii007 on September 13, 2017, with Title “NA 120… Shameless people of PML N….”, this is the video.
When I search “NA 120” on Google, I found out that it is a constituency of Pakistan. So, I searched a targeted keyword “NA 120 women gutter” and found a news channel Capital TV, that already did coverage of this news, on September 13, 2017.
Video of Capital TV-
This video was falsely shared as a recent incident of Delhi, and in a few minutes, we were able to verify its authenticity.
Although I have only explained the Analysis feature of the InVid Browser extension, the application, however, comes with multiple features like Keyframes, Thumbnails, Twitter Search, Magnifier, Metadata, Video Rights and Forensics. I’ll quickly explain those features as well.
Once you have inserted the link and submitted it, the addon will show you a different timeframe of the video. Clicking on any picture will lead you on Google Reverse Image Search. You can choose a Simple & Detailed view for your extensive research as well.
This feature will enable you to search based on the YouTube Thumbnail of the video, it will divide four critical segments of the thumbnail and will perform Reverse Image Search on those four images in one click. This will immediately open four tabs with varied results, you can choose Google, Yandex, Bing and Tinyeye as per your choice.
This is an advance twitter search that will give you various option to search and filter tweets. It’s a keyword basis search tool that works precisely like the Social media investigation tool that I have already mentioned above.
This is an excellent tool that will let you zoom over an image, in case you can’t clearly observe. Just copy the link of the image file, and this tool will do its job. Please note that it will not sharpen the image, or do something magical that will improve the image quality. In the end, it is just a simple magnifier.
So far, this tool will show information about the files like .jpg or .mp4,.m4v etc. I would suggest you upload the image via your computer, if the file is captured by phone it will also show the GPS coordinate of the photograph and video as well. You can even click and go directly to Google Maps for the exact location of the media file.
It is one of the easiest ways to check if the image or video is copyright-free or not. Most YouTube video is protected under the standard license, so in case you want to use any clip, you have to take permission from the channel that published it. Some images that come under the creative commons are free to use, but attribution to the author is a must. Copyright is a severe issue, and one must take all caution before publishing any copyrighted material.
This tool is exceptional; it provides image verification to the extent that it can detect digital image tampering. It uses still image forensic software that filters out images in eight different modes/filter, that will help you verify the authenticity of the image file. The filters are a bit tricky and require practice and professional knowledge to verify the tempering with the image, so you might want to take it slow.
Please do drop your suggestion and ideas about this InVid Investigative Journalism tool, let me know in the comment section below. If you want to keep tabs on a more explain series like this, subscribe to our website. Thanks.
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