Social media is an information goldmine for individuals and businesses. Social media investigation is a valuable modern tool for skip tracing, vetting and reference checks, and civil law investigations.
Five Tips for Effective Social Media Investigation
1. Google And Bing Are Your Friends
Never underestimate the power of your favorite search engine. Many people don't realize how much information is available about almost everyone via the internet. Simply searching your subjects name might uncover surprising results.
Another easy search engine technique is reverse image search. Sometimes an image search reveals social media accounts, online dating profiles, employers, personal blogs, and a wealth of other resources. Use critical thinking when evaluating the results as some phishers, scammers, and catfishers steal people's pictures to use to build false profiles.
2. Look Your Subject Up On Social Media
Social media offers hints to a subject's location, lifestyle, and interests. According to Pew Research, 48% of social media users report finding each channels privacy settings difficult or confusing. As a result, many leave some or all of their information public. A public social media profile is one of the first visits for any investigator.
Even when the subject uses privacy settings, there may still be publicly posted information on major channels like Facebook and Instagram. Facebook's graph search may uncover unexpected gems as many people allow the public to see photographs they are tagged in. Insurance investigators, divorce attorneys, potential employers, and debt collectors have all uncovered valuable information and evidence of a subject's lifestyle and character simply through casual, candid photographs posted on Facebook, Snapchat, or Instagram.
Savvy investigators also look at less personal social media accounts such as Pinterest. Even though users are less likely to post telling, personal details, these channels can indicate location and interests.
3. Look at Your Subject's Friends' Accounts
Many people allow friends of their friends to see even private details. Also, sometimes friends with public profiles may comment on photographs, location check-ins, or status updates from friends with private accounts.
A recent study uncovered that nearly 50% of all social media users accept friend requests from strangers. Be aware that many social networks forbid false profiles.
4. Take Screenshots To Preserve The Evidence
Since social media posts are ephemeral, your subject may remove embarrassing or incriminating content. Savvy investigators keep a record of these posts including a screenshot. Be sure to track important details about the posts you uncover and find a way to preserve and archive any valuable information.
5. Try Social Listening Tools
Social listening tools help businesses with marketing and customer service purposes. Some of these same social listening tools have investigative applications. It would be prohibitively time-consuming to constantly search Google, Bing, and each social network for new updates on your subject. However, you can automate some of this using social listening tools.
For effective and accurate social media investigations, a professional is necessary as they have more resources and tools. Contact Same Day Process Service today if you need a social media investigation.