Topic

Browser plugins and extensions

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Click on the numbered tabs to navigate this lesson.

Turn your browser into a workhorse

This lesson has been adapted from Google News Lab and is reproduced with permission.

From terrorist propaganda to celebrity hoaxes, social media is full of manipulated and misleading content. With the right extensions installed, your browser becomes a verification dashboard that helps you investigate, debunk or confirm the authenticity of a photograph or video.

Once you’ve personalized your extensions, as well as any settings, bookmarks or themes, they’ll be synced to your user account, so you can access an identical experience when you log in from any device with Chrome installed. It’s an invaluable tool for hot-desking journalists.

In this lesson, you will learn:

  • How to use browser add-ons for quick fact checking.

Installing extensions

For the purposes of this walkthrough we will be using the Google Chrome browser. Similar extensions also exist for Firefox and Safari, and can be accessed through the preferences menus.

To install an extension in Chrome, go to the Google Chrome Web Store and Select “Extensions.” Click on the one you want and select “Add to Chrome

Installing and using an EXIF data viewer

Now that you’ve learned to install an extension, here are a few journalist favorites.

A tool called “Send to EXIF viewer” is favoured for its accuracy, detail and ease of use. You can upload a photo directly to the site here or install the Chrome extension “Send to EXIF viewer” for maximum efficiency.

With the extension installed, you can simply right-click on an image and select “Send to image metadata viewer” to see the time, date and location data of the point of capture.  Since most social networks strip out EXIF data, this information may not always be available – but it’s always a good place to start.

Translate sections of text on any web page

The Google Translate Chrome extension makes translating individual words or phrases on a web page even easier.

Once it’s installed, you can highlight any section of text in a different language. Click the icon and a pop-up box will appear, showing the identified language and suggested translation. This can really speed up the process of verifying photo captions, video descriptions and user comments.

If you use this feature frequently, you can edit the extension settings to automatically show translation every time you highlight text.

Run keyword searches across multiple platforms

The social media news agency Storyful has built their global business around the discovery and verification of social media content. In 2013, the team developed Storyful Multisearch, a Chrome browser extension that helps you quickly query keywords or phrases across Twitter, Twitter Video, Twitter Images, YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram, Vine and Spokeo. It’s a brilliant tool for finding both new and corroborating evidence for your story.

To install, go to the Chrome App store and search for “Storyful Multisearchor use this link.

Once you download Storyful Multisearch, a magnifying glass logo appears on the top right corner of your browser. Click the icon, type in your keywords or hashtag and check off which platforms you want to search.

Your results will come up in separate tabs. This open source tool can save time during breaking news events and aid in research for in-depth reporting.