How To

General User Guide


Waterbear is a digital ecosystem that allows your project to collect, organize, analyze and report evidence of disinformation. Waterbear is designed to allow for collaboration within or between organizations and teams. Ultimately the suite of technology will help civil society fight disinformation by providing a broader, more contextualized view of activity in their communities, enabling data-assisted strategies for early-intervention and response. It has the promise of utilizing open-source intelligence gathering to produce an aggregated global disinformation dataset, analyzed by professionals, made accessible to the public, and used by key stakeholders and affected communities.

The Waterbear suite of technology includes three components:

  1. A Webform submission tool
  2. CDR Link a helpdesk that prioritizes security for tagging, internal note taking, assigning and categorizing.
  3. A QA Tool for scrubbing PII and preparing submissions for analysis.

The Waterbear system begins with submissions of incidents or evidence of disinformation through a webform. The webform is a simple form for reporting and classifying disinformation. Users can attach a date, description, link(s), attachment(s), and other details to what they are reporting.

After submitting, the data is sent to the CDR Link platform where team members can review the submission, edit, tag and organize it. Within CDR Link you can also add further attachments, links and comments to a submission. Once the review process is complete, tickets are forwarded into the QA Tool. In the QA Tool a limited number of analyst scrub tickets of any sensitive or personally identifiable information. Once tickets are reviewed and approved, they are queued in the database available for export. Investigators and researchers are able to download ticket data and media files directly from the QA Tool and import them directly into data analysis tools like Tableau.

The Waterbear suite of technology makes discovering, exposing, and responding to disinformation more accessible to civil society.

How it Works

    The Webform

    The Webform is the first of the three components of the Waterbear ecosystem. It is the first step in collecting reports or sightings of disinformation.It allows you to make detailed submissions of disinformation sightings, using a structured form designed to make the process seamless and secure. The more information you fill into the form, the more data an analyst will have to investigate and/or substantiate the claim of disinformation.

    CDR Link

    Submissions from the Webform feed directly into CDR Link, an open-source technology designed to easily tag, edit, assign and respond to ticket submissions. Signing In The first step to access the CDR Link technology is to sign in using your credentials. To access CDR Link you will be provided with a URL, and you will also need a username and a password. Open your browser and type in your customized URL.

    QA Tool

    Tickets are sent from CDR Link into the QA Tool for a final review to sort and archive, or remove PII (publicly identifiable information), so only what is safe is shared. Signing In The first step to access the QA Tool is to sign in using your credentials. You will see a “Sign-in” screen similar to the one below. After that you will have to review the consent form which talks about the tool’s operator, the information we collect and how we use it, you need to agree to the consent form to gain access to the tool, to do so check the continue box and click on confirm, the webform will ask if you wish to save your choice using cookies, select yes to skip this step in the future or no if you wish to go through the consent form every time you use the tool.

    Roles & Permissions

    User Roles, Groups, and Organizations CDR Link divides users into three categories: Customers, Agents and Admin. Customers are anyone who is submitting tickets to CDR Link. Customers have access to their tickets. Agents are anyone who is reviewing, processing, tagging and updating tickets. Admins are anyone who can manage system settings, user settings, and user accounts. Within CDR Link, you are able to manage and organize users depending on what permissions, access and functions you want them to have.