What's the Value of Echosec's Data Providers?

Echosec currently has 18 unique and diverse data providers. This article covers how they can be beneficial to you.

Below, find each data provider's:

  • Description and social significance
  • Statistics (if available) on popular regions, monthly user numbers, and user age range
  • Supported searches*
  • Data type returned

*Supported searches refers to whether a provider allows users to search for data by location, keyword, username, or a combination of these within Echosec. Each data provider's supported search type is denoted by icons in the data provider dropdown menu in Echosec's quick search bar (see below).

Echosec Provider Drop-Down

 

Navigate to Echosec data sources by category:

Microblogging and Social Networks

Photo and Video Sharing Sites

Imageboards and Online Discussions/Chats

Social Journalism and News

Other

 

Micro-blogging and Social Networks

OK.ru (Odnoklassniki)

OK.ru is a social network designed to help current and former classmates stay in touch. OK.ru allows users to set up a profile, connect with other users, engage in private chats and discussion boards, and share updates and images. OK.ru’s social networking capabilities, as well as a gaming feature, foster engaged users with an average visit duration of 25 minutes.

Popular regions: Russia

Active monthly users worldwide: ~45 million

Typical age range of user: 35-45

Supported searches: Keyword

Data returned: Text, image, video

ok_logo

Mastodon

Mastodon is a free, open-source microblogging software with a Twitter-like interface. Users post public or private 500-character messages known as “toots.”

Mastodon is a decentralized, federated network. This means that instead of operating as one website and storing its data in one place, it distributes data across thousands of websites and servers around the world. Mastodon subnetworks or servers, known as “instances,” each host distinct content types and communities with their own terms of service and codes of conduct. Users can interact across instances or block content from instances with policies and content they disagree with.

The platform has "zero tolerance" policies for hate speech and harassment. This was complicated in July 2019 when Gab, known for its far-right user base, migrated to a Mastodon server. Even though Gab is technically hosted on Mastodon, it is recognized as a unique data source in the Echosec Systems Platform.

Popular regions: Japan and U.S.

Active monthly users worldwide: ~500,000

Typical age range of user: Info not available

Supported searches: Keyword and user

Data returned: Text, image, video

mastodon logo

Twitter

Twitter allows users to post ‘micro-blogs’: short messages called ‘tweets’. Users often post candid, real-time information, making Twitter a valuable resource for monitoring current events or opinions.

Popular regions: U.S., Japan, and UK

Active monthly users worldwide: ~335 million

Typical age range of user: 25-34 and 55-64

Supported searches: Location, keyword, username

Data returned: Text, image, video

twitter-1

VK (VKontakte)

VK is a social network that allows users to set up a personal profile, connect with other users, and share files, music, photos, and videos. VK’s minimal search restrictions paired with its standing as the most visited website in Russia makes it chock-full of valuable information about Russian pop culture, lifestyles, and interests.

Popular regions: Russia

Active monthly users worldwide: ~100 million

Typical age range of user: 25-35

Supported searches: Location, keyword

Data returned: Image

vk

Tumblr

Tumblr exists where social media and blogging overlap. Users can microblog and share links, photos, videos, and music. Tumblr’s scannable microblog collection- dawning 168 billion unique posts as of 2018- paired with their public-by-default nature make it a copious data source.

Popular regions: U.S. and UK

Active monthly users worldwide: ~550 million

Typical age range of user: 18-34

Supported searches: Keyword

Data returned: Text, image

tumblr

Gab

Gab, described as a "safe haven" for extremists including the alt-right, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis, is a popular social networking website. The platform is operated by the people for the people- it lacks overarching moderation and posts are instead "upvoted" to increase visibility. Gab stands by their mission of "defending free expression and individual liberty online for all people” by welcoming social media users banned from other platforms for violating their terms of service.

Popular regions: U.S., Brazil, UK, and Canada

Active monthly users worldwide: Gab no longer supports this feature, but the site claims to have almost 1 million registered user accounts by July 2019

Typical age range of user: Info not available 

Supported searches: Keyword, author

Data returned: Text, image, video

gab-logo

Photo and Video Sharing

Flickr

Flickr is a photo-sharing platform that encourages connecting with friends and other community members with tagging and commenting capabilities. Flickr’s precise geo results help provide valuable location-based data.

Popular regions: U.S.

Active monthly users worldwide: ~100 million

Typical age range of user: 25-29 and 35-39

Supported searches: Location, keyword, username

Data returned: Image, video

flickr-1

Vimeo

Vimeo is a video sharing platform geared towards artists and creators. Users tend to be supportive of other community members and engage with each other by commenting, following, or viewing videos in curated channels.

Popular regions: U.S., UK, Brazil

Active monthly users worldwide: ~170 million

Typical age range of user: 20-35

Supported searches: Keyword

Data returned: Video

vimeo

YouTube

YouTube is the web’s most popular video sharing network with over 4 billion videos watched everyday. Users can upload and view videos, follow other users or video channels, and comment. YouTube’s wide range of video content created by an exceptionally diversified demographic provides a plethora of data.

Popular regions: U.S., Brazil, Russia, Japan

Active monthly users worldwide: ~1.5 billion

Typical age range of user: 13-34

Supported searches: Location, keyword, username

Data returned: Video

youtube

Snapchat (Snap Maps)

Snapchat is a mobile messaging application that allows users to share ephemeral pictures/videos, view live videos from around the world, and explore news. Users spend an average of 34 minutes on the app daily, sending such an enormous amount of picture/video content that it would take 950 years to watch all of the snaps made in a day alone.

Popular regions: U.S., France, UK

Active monthly users worldwide: ~300 million

Typical age range of user: 18-24

Supported searches: N/A

Data returned: Video

snapchat-1

 

Imageboards and Online Discussions/Chats

4chan

4chan is a simple, image-based bulletin board where anyone can anonymously post comments and share images, sometimes called the “underbelly of the internet”. This candid platform is unique to social media in that it is completely incognito and all threads expire after a relatively short amount of time. This creates an environment conducive to open expression- ranging from the conception of widespread online trends (remember LOLcats?) to threatening or offensive content.

Popular regions: U.S.

Active monthly users worldwide: ~22 million

Typical age range of user: 16-30

Supported searches: Keyword

Data returned: Text

4chan-1

Reddit

Marketed as “the front page of the internet”, Reddit is an extremely popular social news, content rating, and discussion website. Unlike 4chan, users have personal accounts that still allow them to remain pseudonymous. Reddit is divided into communities called subreddits, and there’s a subreddit for just about everything. Within these subreddits users create relationships with other like-minded individuals and contribute to distinct internet cultures, like “TodayILearned” or “LifeHacks”.

It has spawned many trends including a set of now widely-recognized abbreviations, such as AMA (Ask me anything), IMO (In my opinion), or IRL (In real life). View a more comprehensive list on Reddit's help site.

Popular regions: U.S., UK, Canada

Active monthly users worldwide: ~274 million

Typical age range of user: 18-29

Supported searches: Location, keyword, username

Data returned: Text, image, video

reddit

Discord

Discord is a voice over IP and messaging program, popularized by members of the game streaming platform Twitch. Although still used by the gaming community, Discord has evolved to be an instant messaging platform used between groups of like-minded people with varied interests. Discord’s publicly accessible channels are full of information about culturally relevant events, opinions, hobbies, and much more.

Popular regions: U.S.

Active monthly users worldwide: ~46 million

Typical age range of user: under 25

Supported searches: Keyword

Data returned: Text

discord-512-1

Telegram

Telegram is a simple, fast, and secure cloud-based messenger deemed the "new era of messaging". Users can exchange end-to-end encrypted messages between one another, in groups of up to 200,000 people, and in channels with unlimited members. 15 billion daily messages are exchanged through Telegram's platforms. Acting as a popular WhatsApp alternative, some users prefer Telegram's cloud storage, bots, multi-platform support, and channel functionalities.

Popular regions: Brazil, Russia, Indonesia, Iran, and Uzbekistan

Active monthly users worldwide: ~200 million

Typical age range of user: 45+

Supported searches: Keyword and username

Data returned: Text

telegram

Raddle.me

Raddle is a web-based forum where users can post pictures, discussions, and links. With a mission statement of "to give the people control over their own community, with full transparency and accountability between mods, admins and users", Raddle aims to stand out from its forum-based competitors through their zero-tolerance policy. Raddle actualizes the anonymity-seekers' dream: a platform to share opinions completely devoid of tracking, ads, user-profiling, or collection/sharing of data or IP addresses.

Popular regions: U.S., UK, and Canada

Active monthly users worldwide: ~600,000

Typical age range of user: Not available (must be 16 or older to use)

Supported searches: Keyword and username

Data returned: Text

raddle

 

 

Social Journalism and News

Medium

Medium is an online publishing platform for amateur and professional writers. Users share information such as blogs, articles, or stories. The nature of Medium encourages long-form, authentic content, making it geared towards amateur content creators like authors or journalists.

Popular regions: U.S

Active monthly users worldwide: ~30 million

Typical age range of user: 18-34

Supported searches: Keyword

Data returned: Text, image

medium-1

News

“News” is our comprehensive coverage of web data sets across multiple vertical content domains, aggregating posts from over 75 million websites, blogs, forums, news articles, radio stations, and historical data.

Popular regions: Global

Active monthly users worldwide: N/A

Typical age range of user: N/A

Supported searches: Keyword

Data returned: Text, image

Bing

 

Other

Pinterest

Pinterest is a visual search engine that allows users to create online bulletin boards. Users search specific topics or browse an endless feed of relevant posts based on their interests and previous activity. Users can bookmark (or ‘pin’) posts they like into collections they create - think DIY, recipes, or outfit inspiration. As user engagement tends to be high, Pinterest users usually stay up to date on trends. Searching a topic on Pinterest may provide insight into how a brand or product is being perceived, and whether or not it is increasing in popularity.

Popular regions: U.S., Brazil, India, Russia

Active monthly users worldwide: ~50 million

Typical age range of user: 18-49

Supported searches: Keyword

Data returned: Text

pinterest

 

 

Why don’t we have Instagram and Facebook?
In 2016, Instagram and Facebook tightened their security settings following the Cambridge Analytica scandal and no longer allow broad monitoring. This means data aggregation platforms like Echosec cannot legally access posts from these providers. Check out our blog to learn more.

Instagram or Facebook posts cross-posted by users to Twitter, however, are returned if your organization has access to Twitter as a data provider.

 

Where can I find more information about your data providers?

Want to learn more about the technicalities of our data providers, such as how Twitter's Geotagging API works or, how many search results can be returned per request? View our Echosec Data Provider Guide here.