Bots are social media accounts automated through the used of computers and software. Bot accounts generally follow a set of predetermined rules, such as retweeting a specific hashtag, or reposting a certain tweet at regular intervals. They require little, if any, human intervention after they have been launched.
The domain name is the natural language name for a website. For example, in exposed.news24.com, the bolded area is the domain name. The italicised part is a subdomain.
Domain Name Server
The “directory service” that converts the natural language domain name into machine-friendly IP addresses. Because remembering www.google.co.za is easier than remembering https://126.96.36.199/ everytime you want to do a Google search.
The creation and distribution of intentionally false information with the aim to deceive.
The process of establishing the truthfulness of a post or article. This can range from something as simple as searching a word or phrase online, to structuring and analysing hundreds of thousands of data-points to establish truth. Africacheck is an amazing resource for local fact-checking in South Africa.
The colloquial term used to describe most forms of disinformation. This has also become a pejorative term used by some to describe news they do not like, or do not agree with.
Google Adsense ID
A unique identifier used by webpages that make use of Google’s Adsense platform in order to post ads to its site. A number of sites can be linked to an single Adsense ID, making it useful for establishing relationships between different sites. It is expressed as CA-PUB-1234567 in the website’s source code.
Google Analytics ID
Similiar to the Adsense ID, the analytics ID is a unique identifier for websites that make use of Google’s analytics platform to track usage and traffic statistics to its site. A number of sites can be linked to an single Analytics ID, making it useful for establishing relationships between different sites. It is expressed as UA-123456-7 in the website’s source code.
Open Source Intelligence. A term used to describe collecting and gathering information from multiple public sources, including social media, company records offices and court records.
A service provided by some companies that allows a person to register a website under their name, effectively hiding the website owner’s identity. Some website hosting companies provide this service as part of their hosting offering, although third party hosting sites are also available.
Information shared, usually within a political context, with the aim of persuading its readers of one or more viewpoints.
Satire is a form of humour that leverages absurdity and irony as a form of social commentary. It is not intended to be taken seriously, yet this is the case all too often.
Any network used to interact with other people in an online environment. This encapsulates most of the internet, from e-mails and chatrooms to the big three: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Social media accounts designed to impersonate another individual. By pretending to be someone else, these sockpuppet accounts attempt to infiltrate an online community in the hopes of directing its discourse. Despite being labelled the Guptabots, the scores social media accounts that pretended to be South Africans (while in fact originating in India) was a prime example of sockpuppet accounts in action.
A usually anonymous social media account that posts offensive and provocative content. This is usually aimed or directed at specific persons or communities. A social media account can also be a sock-puppet or bot account in addition to being a troll.
The website web.archive.org periodically scans and scrapes websites, and archives a snapshot of the website on that day. It is a very useful tool for taking a peek at what a website used to look like, or for saving a website page before it gets taken down.