Leveraging Social Media for Investigations

Social media has transformed the investigative landscape for public and private investigators. Social media — and the data it captures — has played a key role in the investigative process for cases involving fraud, defamation, disinformation, counterterrorism, compliance, privacy, blue- and white-collar crime, financial crimes, and civil litigation. As social media has continued to blend together people’s public, private, physical, and online lives on a daily basis, the process for collecting evidence, identifying leads, identifying individuals, assets, and known associates, and investigating a case has become increasingly dynamic. Thus, for today’s investigator interested in staying ahead of nebulous cases or nefarious actors, she or he must constantly adapt to find, analyze, and operationalize relevant and timely information.

Social media intelligence (SOCMINT) refers to the process of identifying, collecting, and analyzing data generated by organizations’ and individuals’ use of social media and other digital platforms to post information, discuss topics of interest, and generally navigate their online needs. SOCMINT covers the full information spectrum, including written, audio, and visual content. SOCMINT leverages an organization’s or individual’s online footprint to identify trends and anomalies in online behavior, based on post content, frequency, identified interests, news preferences, emotional sentiment, geographic and demographic data, searches, social and professional networks, and financial activity. 

Guidehouse’s Open Source Solutions team has extensive industry experience and technical expertise in open source investigations. Our team has a deep, diverse, and ever expanding set of domestic and foreign information sources based on publicly available information and commercially available data sets. Guidehouse’s strategy, sources, methods, and tradecraft are expertly tailored to the scale and scope of each investigation to balance investigative agility with secure protocols.

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