Critically Endangered small

Open source social media and web content which supports crowd-sourced investigation and fact-checking to verify or refute claims of state agencies and rebel groups in the context of current political or military conflict.

Group: Digital Legal Records

Trend: New Entry

Unanimous Decision

Added to List: 2019

Last update: 2019

Previous category: New Entry

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within twelve months, detailed assessment is now a priority

Significance of Loss

The loss of tools, data or services within this group would impact on people and sectors around the world.

Effort to Preserve

Loss seems likely: by the time tools or techniques have been developed the material will likely have been lost.


Social media sources relating to current conflicts, such as in Yemen or Syria.

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Offline backup captured by journalist or investigating authority;

2019 Review

This is a new entry received through open submission in 2019 and subsequently split into three elements by the Jury, relating to current, recent and historic sources.  This entry relates in particular to materials relating to current and ongoing conflicts.  Social media companies have a policy to take down or suppress content that they consider to be propaganda for terrorist groups.  This has had the unintended consequence of deleting or supressing content that was being used in open source investigation or fact checking for journalistic or judicial purposes, and which may therefore be an impediment to refutation or prosecution.  However a new generation of cloud based services, such as Hunchly have emerged in the last few years which allow investigators to copy and stabilise content to private accounts in the process of investigating it: so the ethical requirements of social media companies and the integrity of investigation are both served. The Jury notes that the such content remains at risk, and the process of investigation is slower than algorithmic deletion.  Nonetheless there is a notable difference in the investigation of current conflicts than historic ones where evidence has been lost.

Additional Jury Comments


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