The manipulation of social media metadata

mso-char-type:symbol;mso-symbol-font-family:Symbol”>·  Check if an account has been tagged by other verifiable platform users

·  Consider parody or organizational change as explanations before concluding that something is malicious manipulation

On detecting imposter accounts

·  Locate date of when account was started, user joined

·  Look at how many tweets/posts have been created since account start date

·  View attached media (pictures, videos, links) and look for duplicates

·  Consider the date of the last post or activity and if the account has been dormant

·  If it is listed as an official account, search for the personality/institutional homepage to cross-reference and confirm existence of an official account

·  Search the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine for crawls of the account

·  Scan multiple crawls if possible and look to see if the account was dormant or has ever been deleted or suspended

·  Reverse image search the profile pics and banners to see if and where copies occur

·  Explore followers and commenters for their authenticity to assess if they appear to be real people or bots

·  Read to see if the comments are substantive and engaging with the content or are they simply reactions or emoji


·  Use social dashboards to see account creation time and date and average daily active posts, comparing the date of the account establishment and the posts per day

·  Examine promoted posts and ads policies of platforms, research

·  Consult the page administrator’s user account and page, comparing the rate of posting promoted content to free content

·  Examine how often content is shared (e.g., are memes or videos frequently re-shared but with different captions?)

— Read more in Amelia Acker, Data Craft: The Manipulation of Social Media Metadata (Data & Society, November 2018)