Tracking Breaking News Tweets with DigitalStakeout

Twitter as a Data Source for Real-time Breaking Information


In a 24x7 information cycle, there is actionable news, disinformation, fake news, clickbait, trolling, and everything else you can imagine on Twitter. How do you cut through the noise to focus on what matters to your mission and organizational needs? This blog details how we reduced the basic noise level on Twitter breaking news to less than a tweet a minute.


A customer asked us to recommend a reliable and repeatable method that enables their organization to keep up with breaking news and information. They must maintain awareness of breaking news without being inundated with unverified information and unmanageable data volume.


To get started, we focused solely on tapping into the Twitter firehose. Media organizations use Twitter to distribute breaking news and events. The general public, journalists, and organizations in key locations are tweeting about observations as they occur. With the pervasive amount of OSINT sleuths on the Twitter platform, events and information occurring on other social media platforms will rapidly distribute on Twitter. We also routinely see information break on Twitter before news organizations publish stories and tweet about it themselves. While infrequent, Tweets have mentioned dangerous situations and critical incidents minutes before 911 calls.


Using the DigitalStakeout Twitter Firehose Monitor


The DigitalStakeout Twitter Firehose Monitor enables users to create a real-time feed from the full enterprise Twitter firehose. An advanced feature of this monitoring module is that it allows end-users to create a custom boolean "power rule." Creating a power rule enables customers to create a feed that matches Tweets based on fifty possible attributes about the type of Tweets you need to track.


After you toggle the power rule editor, this is the criteria you should use:


#breaking is:verified -is:retweet followers_count:10000 statuses_count:25000


How this Twitter Power Rule Works

  • The #breaking term is predominantly used on Twitter tag news worthy events.

  • is:verified means the Tweet must come from a verified account with a blue check.

  • -is:retweet means the Tweet is NOT a retweet. Only original posts will be streamed.

  • followers_count limits tweets to accounts with 10,000+ followers or more.

  • statuses_count limits matching tweets to a history 25,000+ tweets.

This combination of parameters creates a topical feed with verified sources with a history of producing breaking news information for many followers.


DigitalStakeout Enables a Manageable Flow of Critical Information


Using this power rule, we can reduce the raw stream of "breaking tweets" to from thirty-five (35) tweets per minute to one (1) tweet per minute. As the figure of the DigitalStakeout activity console shows, you can now filter your results to a manageable number of tweets to review or to derive alerts.



Once you have the feed streaming data, you can now take advantage of the many add-on filtering features available to you in the DigitalStakeout platform.


  • Automated enrichment tags critical discoveries across five categories of risk.

  • Create auto-tagging rules to mark up important posts.

  • Boolean search and linked entity data enable you to pivot through the results.


Stay Aware of the Rapidly Changing News Cycle


Based on the number of dynamic situations impacting your organization, we recommend that all DigitalStakeout customers create this feed or a variant of the rule in DigitalStakeout. This continuous stream of tweets (approximately 50,000/month) will enable you to maintain situational awareness of breaking news that can impact your employees, locations, or operations anytime.

We hope this post helps you understand how to track the Twitter firehose with DigitalStakeout better and effectively. If you need any help with tracking #breaking information, don't hesitate to contact us, and a team member will help you as soon as possible.