Build Digital Investigation Tools in Bellingcat’s September Hackathons

August 17, 2022

Over two days in September, Bellingcat will host two remote global hackathons for teams of up to three people to develop digital investigation and network analysis tools. Participants from any timezone are welcome to apply. You’ll get to work together intensively with your team over a weekend to produce a functioning digital tool to be used by open source researchers.

See our Participant Guide for more information about both hackathons, including schedule, rules, and grading criteria. If you do not have a team, you are welcome to apply to participate in the hackathon and work alone, or alternatively we will allow you to chat with participants ahead of time and potentially form teams with other participants.

Hackathon I: Social Media Network Analysis Investigation Tools

  • The first hackathon will take place September 2-4 (inclusive) and will have a specific focus on social media network analysis tools
  • Apply using this form
  • See our document What is a Social Network Analysis Tool for more information about the kinds of tools we’re interested in
  • Up to 50 participants

Hackathon II: General Digital Investigation Tools

  • The second hackathon will take place September 23-25 (inclusive) and will have a more general focus on digital investigation tools
  • Apply using this form
  • See our document What Is a Digital Investigation Tool for more information about the kinds of tools we’re interested in

We’re looking for new ideas and innovative ways of working with open sources. You needn’t be a professional or expert coder with a portfolio of fully-fledged projects in order to apply. That said, prototyping an MVP (minimum viable product) is a requirement of the hackathons – you must have the necessary development or coding skills.

All participants will be vetted to avoid trolls. Participants may enter anonymously, but in this case at least one of your other team members must be able to share their genuine online profile with Bellingcat for vetting purposes.

Both hackathons will conclude with an awards ceremony presented by Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins where the best projects will be announced. We recommend that you familiarise yourselves with the grading criteria well in advance.

A number of prizes are available to winning tools, including free spaces at Bellingcat workshops.

After both hackathons are over, we plan to write an article about some of the projects developed — by participating, you agree that your project might be profiled. We’ll also ask if you’re interested in your tool being included in Bellingcat’s GitHub.


If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to reach out at