First Draft’s mission has moved to the Information Futures Lab at Brown University. This website was last updated in January 2023 and is hosted in perpetuity by the Internet Archive.
Our dashboard offers insights daily for an at-a-glance snapshot on what our investigative research team sees online. We’ll provide context and suggest how to proceed with the information for your audiences. Journalists can request access to @FD_Update for more team insights.
Eyes are on Washington, D.C., where security is tight ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. Track this list for verified updates from the Capitol and its environs:
A video of a bus driving past the U.S. Capitol has sparked claims in far-right and QAnon Latinx spaces online that mass arrests of government officials will take place on Inauguration Day. YouTube personality Eduardo Menoni showed a footage of bus spotted near the Capitol, which Menoni claims is used to transport prisoners, and is evidence that preparations for mass arrests are in the works. His video was viewed more than 219,000 times. Mr. Capacho, another QAnon YouTube personality, used the image of the bus in the thumbnail of his latest video. Overall, Latinx QAnon influencers are discussing the possibility that either the military or Trump himself will intervene to prevent President-elect Biden’s inauguration.
Facebook has instituted a temporary ban on ads that “promote weapon accessories and protective equipment” until at least January 22. This is an amendment to the ban that it had recently put in place disallowing political ads on the platform, also until at least January 22. As with most social media moderation action, things have fallen through the cracks, like this ad run by PragerU after the ban, about Section 230. The ad was deemed political by Facebook but allowed to run.
While Facebook is not accepting political ads at the moment, Google is. Google’s archive is harder to search, but it appears that the political ads run in recent days are relatively ordinary. Prior to January the 6, there were a few ads calling for elected officials to contest the electoral college results.
Per the Facebook “Our Preparations Ahead of Inauguration Day” announcement, it has extended its ban on political ads through inauguration day.
Google has ended its ban on political ads starting Thursday. The archive is currently only showing ads run through December 7 (all of which were removed because the ban was still in effect), which is probably a delay in the archive, it’s unlikely that no one has purchased Google ads since the December 7.
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Copy and paste this query into TweetDeck to monitor safety and security on Inauguration Day. To monitor for protests that may happen locally in other states, substitute the keywords in the first parentheses for geographic keywords in your area.
(inauguration OR d.c. OR capitol OR “national mall” OR “west front” OR #inaugurationday) AND (protest OR protesters OR demonstration OR rally OR riot OR security OR police OR armed OR gun OR fired OR “national guard” OR explosion OR violence OR scared)
Our team has assembled CrowdTangle dashboards, which surfaces top posts with problematic search words on Facebook, Instagram and Reddit.
Political live displays:
State Displays: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Virginia
Organizing your #OSINT Investigation Toolshttps://t.co/D0XEBALLXc
— OSINT Techniques (@OSINTtechniques) November 23, 2020
The social media platform Parler has been in the news since Twitter and Facebook have begun to moderate more of its online content and deplatform prominent accounts like Donald Trump. This tutorial does not endorse Parler, but shows journalists what the platform is and how to navigate it for investigations.
Google Trends data helps you to see what topics people are searching for. This can be useful as a tool for understanding what topics people are confused about, and if you’re a journalist it might serve as inspiration for a story idea.
We’ve assembled some First Draft training resources on key topics.
Election news updated every 15 minutes from News API, from Google News.
Top pages in Wikipedia are one indicator of public interest. Like Google Trends data, it can help journalists think about potential story ideas.
The top five articles according to NewsWhip’s analysis tool, which gauges public interest around a topic or theme.
From NewsWhip, these are the most over-performing posts across Facebook.
Get ready to report on misinformation before, during and after the election.
The latest First Draft research report collects analysis from our Local News Fellows in Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.