Webinar held on 10 March 2021, 11:00 - 12:30 CET during CIRCOM's Learning From A Global Pandemic week-long programme of interactive Zoom sessions, 8 - 12 March 2021

Fake news and widespread misinformation is perhaps the greatest danger faced by the media in the 21st century. If it leads to the erosion of trust in our journalism it will pose a genuine threat to our future. But this outcome is far from inevitable; the sources of this misinformation may be little known, but can be tracked down using open source intelligence techniques.

In this session Guillaume Kuster and Amaury Lesplingart from fact-checking start-up CheckFirst introduced us to some open source intelligence tools and techniques to help our investigations, and enable journalists to verify claims, debunk myths and even unmask imposters.

There are a number of useful websites to help us check, and double check the truth of stories we hear, some of which were demonstrated by Guillaume and Amaury, who believe that journalists should receive specific guidance on fact-checking tools and techniques as part of their training. But as Guillaume pointed out, these only work in partnership with the other skills a journalist possesses: “There’s no silver bullet, there’s no magical piece of software that’s automatically going to detect fake news.

But, particularly with the explosion of social media and user-generated content online, Amaury feels it is something journalists need to get on top of: “It’s going to be really useful in the upcoming years to use more and more tools to be able to understand what is happening and where to find information.


Amaury Lesplingart (left) and Guillaume Kuster (right)

Guillaume Kuster enjoyed a long career working in mainstream broadcasting in his native France as a reporter, presenter and director. He created his own training company to share his experiences in journalism, as well as his knowledge of tech, storytelling and content creation strategies, and now works with many of Europe’s largest media organisations.

Amaury Lesplingart is an entrepreneur, software developer and specialist in open source intelligence. He is the co-founder of Check First, a Finnish software company whose focus is to equip journalists with the best possible investigation and information tools and techniques.