Social media has increasingly permeated every aspect of our lives, and tracking down the clues left behind by our digital footprints has now become par for the course when it comes to open source investigative work. But conducting social media investigations entails far more than scouring through an individual’s Facebook page or reviewing their professional profile on LinkedIn.
“People often underestimate how much you can get from social media,” says Marcus Fishburn, Head of S-RM’s Disputes and Investigations practice, “but achieving this requires a specific skillset and a thorough understanding of the way people engage with various online environments.” From understanding how people use social media differently across geographies and generations, through to adapting techniques in line with a fast-changing industry that is constantly responding to pressure for more features and more privacy – intelligence gathering via social media is a complex and multifaceted process. And when done well, it can add significant value to an investigation.
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“But social media is rarely the final stop in an investigation,” notes Marcus. Often, social media will generate the lead that will tell the investigator where to look, or what asset-type to be looking for. In most cases, social media uncovers what he calls “links in the investigative chain” that can then be explored further, both online and off.
In this episode of S-RM Insider, we discuss the various platforms, techniques and challenges that make up social media investigative work with our in-house Disputes and Investigations team and open source intelligence specialists.