How to use Amnesty International’s YouTube Data Viewer

By Nada Blassy

Amnesty International created a tool that allows users to check a YouTube video’s upload time. This helps to verify information and to check the credibility of a video.

If a certain video is circulating online, a user can simply use the tool to see if the upload date corresponds to the news event. The Data Viewer tool has the capability to search through every thumbnail as well, which provides a way for users to identify original and older versions of a video. This is done through a reverse image search.

Here is an example of how to use the Data Verification tool.

On Monday, attorneys representing two men who tortured a shark told the judge they wanted more time to prepare for the trial. News outlets that covered the story used video of the two men dragging the shark through the water. If a reporter from a different news outlet wanted to find the original shark video or verify when the video was uploaded, here is how they would do it.

Step 1: Select the YouTube video that needs verification.

For this example, a reporter finds this NBC2 New’s YouTube video.

Step 2: Copy the URL of the YouTube video.

Make sure to select the full URL.


Step 3: Paste the URL into YouTube’s Data Viewer.

The tool then generates the video ID, upload date and upload time for the reporter to verify.

It also locates several thumbnails and provides a reverse image search. The reporter can then locate the original video and use that for his or her news organization.

For more information, the Citizen Evidence Lab offers more instructions on how to use the YouTube Data Viewer, as well as other verification tools.

The New Tactics in Human Rights held a webinar about using video for documentation and evidence.

Poynter discusses how Amnesty International uses the tool in more depth, and why there was a need for the YouTube Data Viewer. In the article, Christoph Koettl, the Amnesty USA emergency response manager, said that verification is a key component of their human rights research. They use those tools to carefully review all materials.