Social Media- What We Do and What We Find
The most important piece of surveillance technology that PI’s use is the humble laptop computer.
That’s because all seasoned PI’s know that the key to most successful surveillance jobs is actually the “pre-surveillance” work: like getting the correct address for the subject’s home or business, make and model of car, and any hints or tips about the subject’s daily activities and destinations….do they belong to a bowling league? Or have kids that play on a soccer team?
An hour spent surfing on social media and checking Street View on Google Maps can reveal enough intel to get a case off the ground, and often enough to even begin compiling a body of evidence.
Social media investigations are an increasingly common feature of any investigative effort. The police routinely use social media to gather evidence and build cases. A private investigator used a photo posted on social media to catch a Russian murder suspect in Brooklyn, NY. Thanks to the wealth of personal information online, social media investigations can be used to ascertain someone’s character, check for illegal or inappropriate behavior, to find someone, or to prove (or disprove) an alibi.
Social media investigations are incredibly powerful for two reasons. Firstly, over 81% of the adult US population is on some form of social media, and 79% of all American adults are on Facebook. Secondly, the complicated privacy settings and rules of sites like Facebook mean that most people don’t realize how easily accessible and public the information they post online actually is.
When a private investigator conducts a social media investigation, they’ll check popular social media sites like
Typical Use Cases
Social media is a rich source of information for just about any investigation. If your goals include gathering information about someone’s movements, associates, or character, social media investigations are a great fit. Out of the hundreds of social media cases that we’ve handled, these are the most common use cases:
Gathering Evidence for Court
Social media is a great source of evidence for court cases. Usually, social media investigations are used to gather evidence to establish someone’s character, prove or disprove an alibi, or gather other miscellaneous supporting evidence.
Investigators can gather more information than statuses, tweets, and photos from social media too. The metadata attached to posts can be used to determine where someone was at a given time, as well as someone’s behaviors and habits over time. This sort of evidence can discredit or reinforce someone’s claims, or even establish their reliability as a witness.
We’ve uncovered corruption, vetted partners, tracked down witnesses, and searched the dark web for our clients.
If you’re thinking of using a social media investigation to gather evidence for court or some other legal process, you should be careful. Evidence must be collected methodically, with appropriate metadata and other validating information intact. If the evidence is gathered incorrectly, it can be thrown out of court. It pays to use a professional investigator to gather the evidence in a way that is admissible in court, and supports your case. CALL BIG TODAY!
Types of Evidence Typically Collected for Court Cases
- Employment Checks
- Relevant statements or comments
- Posts relating to past illegal activity
- Metadata from posts establishing time and location of posting
- List of social media profiles and screen names associated with target individual
- Content establishing character (for example, attitudes to police, past sentiments, racist or sexist content etc)
Let’s face it – regular background checks and reference checks are little more than an IQ test for potential applicants. Applicants won’t give you bad references, and won’t submit to a background check they know they won’t pass. If you need to properly assess someone’s character and past, you need to go deeper.
Social media investigations are a great way to establish the character, work experience, and education of a potential hire. Social media investigations can find evidence of past illegal behavior, provide evidence to support or discredit claims about education and employment, and assess whether they are likely to conduct themselves in a manner befitting your organization.
If you have a Social Media Investigations case you would like to discuss, contact Blackstone Investigations Group today. Our team has handled dozens of social media investigations for a wide variety of clients. All cases are handled in a timely and confidential manner. CALL US TODAY so we can get to work for you!
“My firm hired Blackstone’s IT team to conduct a social media investigation on several employees who were allegedly posting negative comments and reviews about our company all over social media platforms. Within just a few days, Dave was able to retrieve both current and previously deleted posting from several fake social media accounts that were set up by the employees. Thanks to Dave we were able to discipline the employees without fear of repercussions. I would strongly recommend Dave and his team for any social media cases.”