Intelligence gathering: comprehensive video extraction with open source tools (2)

Related: Intelligence gathering: comprehensive video extraction with open source tools (1)

Video extraction via date specific filters on various platforms

1. Twitter

The case study where we used this tool was the Mexican earthquake. Using Twitter's advanced search interface, you can find a large number of live messages delivered by tweets from ordinary people, and you can easily find these videos by searching for operators at and selecting the "Videos" tab to see only videos uploaded to Twitter.

The purpose of tracking these videos is to know what keywords to look for when searching next. When looking for videos related to an event, don't just search for the obvious subject tags and keywords that will bring up most results. For example, the August 12 protests with the hashtags #UnitetheRight and Charlottesville; also use specific phrases, words and subject tags that locals are likely to use to find results from accounts that may not have tried to broadcast to a large audience.

Imagine what we would write to describe the event if we were locals observing it - perhaps using the name of the city, or more likely, if only intending to broadcast to a smaller audience, the name of the place most familiar to locals.

Another obvious strategy is to use the local language rather than just English. In the case of the Mexico City earthquake, you'll find more successful results searching for earthquakes in Spanish, "sismo" or a common Mexico City term such as CDMX (short for Ciudad deMéxico). Otherwise, you will only get results for English-speaking tourists and journalists who post.

2. YouTube and Google Video

On YouTube it is possible to use filters to find only videos posted in a specific time span. However, these filters are limited to not allowing us to search for a specific date or date range, only the relative time span relevant to when you performed the search. If you are searching for videos of an event within a week of the event, then click on "this week" and you will be fine.

However, if we are searching for videos after a longer period of time has elapsed since the event, it may be more useful to search for YouTube videos in Google, which offers far more powerful search options than the YouTube user interface.

In the search below, we asked Google to return results for each YouTube video posted on August 12, 2017 (date parameter under "Tools") for the "Charlottesville" keyword.

By using the same search parameters in, minus the YouTube format, we will primarily find videos posted to news organizations that may not be able to share their content on YouTube.

No single platform can collect all the content from professional news organizations in one place. So our best choice is a combination of YouTube search (for news organizations that share their content on official YouTube channels) and Google Video Search, which will detect video content on each site.

3. Facebook

Searching for videos shared on a specific date on Facebook is much more difficult than using YouTube or Twitter, because there is no search operator on Facebook that can specify a date range, only the year.

Similar to YouTube, we still need to outsource the operation to Google due to the limitations of the Facebook user interface. A video search on for the keyword "Charlottesville" for August 12, 2017 will yield many useful results, similar to our date-specific search for YouTube videos.

4. Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki

Depending on the event of interest, many regional social networks are also worth using. Two of the most popular regional social networks in the former Soviet Union countries are Vkontakte (VK) and Odnoklassniki (OK), and video search is easy using the site interfaces of both platforms.

On VK, the video search is limited to sorting by upload date, but on other platforms there are far fewer videos available, which can greatly reduce the search time. After entering keywords, if you cannot change the language setting, please select "Video" (or "Видео" in Russian) to limit the search results.

Odnoklassniki has roughly the same options as Facebook for video search, as it includes the option to include rarely filmed live videos from Odnoklassniki. As with VK, search on the site (you may need to create an account) and then select "Videos" to filter the results. Unless the event of interest occurs in a location with multiple VK and OK users, searching for new video clips on these platforms may be half the battle, as a large number of clips on these sites are shared from other sources.

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