Archive

Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Active Shooter Attacks – Universities are Soft Targets

February 15th, 2017 Comments off

Historically, active shooter assaults have been driven by motivations of revenge, jealousy, fear or anger. Some have involved domestic relationships that have gone wrong resulting in violent events in the workplace. Many have been a result of disgruntled employees reaching an irrational point of frustration or former employees not being able to get past being terminated. However, now, on the heels of the Paris and Nice attacks in France, the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, and the Ohio State University attack last year, we should ask another question. Will this type of orchestrated active shooter/deadly assault on ‘soft targets’ continue in our communities, and more specifically on college campuses? In my opinion – this is very likely.

Symbolic government, business, and public infrastructure targets have taken steps to increase security and think about terrorist threat preparation and monitoring. This is great and needs to continue but what about easier targets of equal value in the eyes of attackers. Often these attackers just want to lash out at the perceived evil of western society and what better place to do so than where young people are being educated during a very impressionable period in their lives. Whether religiously motivated, or anti-capitalist motivated, there does not seem to be a lack of terrorist groups, or radicalized individual supporters, that want to attack our way of living and believing. College campuses offer open environments, events with large crowds, and masses of students out on the grounds between classes, with security or campus police departments often being understaffed. Universities and colleges are easy targets that would warrant a significant amount of media attention. No one wants to think about this but we must.

For another perspective on this topic, check out the article in this link:

graphWhy Do Terrorists Target Colleges and Universities?

 

 

An attack at a college or university will be difficult to stop and very effective if not planned for, both regarding anticipated emergency response and tapping resources for preventive intelligence gathering. Social media is often used for communication and planning by those who set out to conduct such attacks, so we need to be paying attention and use the expertise available to monitor and analyze such data. Social media is probably a college student’s most frequently used communication channel, and they are very free with what they post – good or bad.

There has already been some success using proactive intelligence for prevention purposes. However, we need to open the door a little wider. It is one of our better defenses, along with having a solid response plan. Colleges and universities should have people dedicated to social media monitoring through geofencing around campuses. This may be a topic I will expand upon in the future.

Develop an active shooter response plan for your facility or campus! Check out our website for assistance at www.afimacglobal.com

 

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Social Media Monitoring after High-Risk Terminations

September 23rd, 2016 Comments off

There are different types of high-risk terminations. Some are obvious, and some are not:

  • Those where the aggressive behavior or act of aggression/minor violence has caused the need to terminate.
  • Cases of deteriorating work performance caused by underlying personal factors affecting the person’s judgement, emotional state, and ability to cope at work. When the work behavior is being affected and cannot be corrected, a termination is sometimes required.
  • Someone caught up in a general RIF or downsizing through no deficiency of his or her own, and they are let go. What might make them high-risk is if their whole life is defined by their job and they have no support structure (family or friends) to fall back on. These can sometimes lead to the person feeling so devastated that they act out during or after the termination. These situations are not always identified as high risk, even though they can be.

After any high-risk termination, you will not know how long the person harbors ill will towards your company, or specific individuals in your company unless you take measures to monitor them some way. One method is to monitor their social media posts. It never ceases to amaze me what people will post on social media sites that they would not discuss in public for fear of someone overhearing. Granted, they might password protect certain information, but those who are prone to act out violently usually have fewer concerns about privacy than their interest in publicly letting everyone know how he or she has been unfairly treated and believe they are due some form of justice. Social media is a vehicle for them to do just that and you should seek this information after termination in high-risk cases. You might find out that the problem you thought you solved through termination has only gotten worse. Not only are they more desperate now but they are solely focused on your company as the reason for their personal downfall. Knowing that a former employee feels this way gives you some options to pursue, such as notifying the police, obtaining a restraining order, offering sponsored counseling, etc.

Human resource personnel and the corporate security team should work together and involve third party professionals to evaluate and monitor what is going on in this person’s life after their departure and especially around pivotal dates. Postings may become more prevalent around dates of hire and termination, birthdays, holidays, and other symbolic time frames. On the positive side, it could also tell you when the person has come to accept what had to be done and is moving on with their life. You might find they post happy thoughts about new employment or a new outlook on life related to some new endeavor. Either way, it is worth the effort and cost to take such precautions.

Violence is typically a process, not an isolated event. The violence process usually has behavioral red flags along the way. This is what thorough workplace violence prevention training often outlines and it applies even after the individual leaves the workplace, depending on the circumstances of the departure.  Not realizing the desperation that a person faces, and the volatility that they represent, could be dangerous and using every tool available to gather data is prudent. The job may have been all they had left to depend on!  They are now focusing on your company as the evil force that took away the one last thing that was important to them.

For more information regarding safely conducting a termination process for all types of high-risk cases, check out the courses at www.imac-training.com. Also, refer to www.afimacsmi.com for more information regarding social media investigations.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Social Media and Terminations

September 22nd, 2015 Comments off

Earlier this year I wrote a blog about two types of terminations that should be considered high risk. One is when aggressive behavior violates workplace violence policies or elevates to an unacceptable level and the person has to be terminated due to that behavior. The other kind can sneak up on you and many workplace violence prevention programs do not address it. With this type, the person has displayed continuously deteriorating work performance, in spite of corrective counseling, and this leads to a termination requirement. What makes this situation high risk is that the underlying cause(s) for the deteriorating work performance can also contribute towards that person’s potential to react violently during the termination itself, or sometime afterwards. Their termination can cause an extreme sense of desperation at a time when they are the most volatile.

Furthermore, you will never know how long the person harbors ill will towards your company, or specific individuals in your company, unless you take measures to monitor them some way. One way to do this is to see their social media posts. Granted, they might password protect certain information but those who are prone to act out violently usually have less concern with privacy than their interest in publicly letting everyone know how they have been unfairly treated. Social media is a vehicle for them to do just that. Use this to your advantage post termination on the high risk cases and you might find out that the problem you thought you solved through termination has only gotten worse. On the positive side, it could also tell you that the person has come to accept what had to be done and is moving on in their life. Either way it is worth the effort or cost to take such precautions.

The most recent horrific workplace shooting of the news crew in Roanoke, VA underscores the value of knowing what is going on with someone who has been let go and remains focused on something or someone in your workplace. Not to say this could have been prevented, but having an idea that a former employee is still focused on you, allows for some possibly preventative options such as police notification, restraining orders, sponsored counseling, etc. In some of these cases, there may be indications of stress induced aggressiveness which should then serve as a red flag. Human resource personnel and the corporate security team should work together and involve third party professionals to evaluate and monitor what is going on in this person’s life.

Violence is typically a process, not an isolated event. The violence process usually has behavioral red flags along the way. This is what thorough workplace violence prevention training often outlines but it also applies to how the individual leaves the workplace depending on the circumstances of the departure.  Not realizing the desperation that a person faces, and the volatility that they represent, could be dangerous and using every tool available to gather data is prudent. The job may have been all they had left to depend on!  They are now focusing on your company as the evil force that took away the one last thing that was important to them.

For more information regarding safely conducting a termination process for all types of high risk cases, check out the courses at www.imac-training.com. Also refer to www.afimacsmi.com for more information regarding social media investigations.

How Can Social Media Content Help Combat Bullies at Work?

August 26th, 2015 Comments off

Workplace bullying is often the first step in a developing workplace violence issue. One that can result in lost employees, lost productivity, law suits, and can lead to overt violence if left unchecked. What if the bully is a supervisor?  If aggressive tactics are tolerated as supervisory motivators, they will become the dominant form of management. This is an absolute path towards organizational failure. Fear has only a small place in supervision. Holding people accountable can be done in a very civil and subtle manner. There is often a blurred line between being held accountable and being pressured by a bully who says they are trying to motivate. The effects will often be: lower energy levels, no employee initiative, and manipulative behavior among employees to avoid the bully, health problems, and many others.

How can bully supervisors exist in some workplaces for so long without being dealt with? Bullying and inappropriate aggression will continue if they are ignored. Fear is usually what causes this tendency to ignore or deny the behavior. Either fear of harm or reprisal. The bully’s tactics are effective in that regard. It is easier to avoid the problem than to address it. However, ignoring is another form of tolerance. Tolerance is another form of acceptance. This perceived acceptance is why bullying, if allowed to exist for too long, will lead to a physical incident eventually.

There is another tool to help monitor/control this behavior. For example, a client requested to have a supervisor monitored, due to one brave employee’s concern regarding the supervisor’s aggressive and verbally abusive behavior. As a precaution, they wanted to monitor the supervisor’s open source social media “footprint”. They contracted a firm to monitor his various social media feeds for content using a number of keywords. The supervisor had posted statements that were somewhat troubling and suggested that he may act out in the future even more aggressively. Furthermore, factors outside the workplace were adding to the situation. Social media data was harvested, collected and stored for analysis.

Unfortunately, the performance improvement plan that the company put the supervisor on did not produce the desired results and the company decided to terminate the individual.  The company was confident with their decision, as they were armed with the individual’s potentially dangerous social media posts, adding to the lack of behavior improvement. Security measures were put in place to mitigate any termination risk. The event took place with a heated verbal outburst, however no physical violence occurred. The company opted to continue social media surveillance for an additional 30 days following the termination. The individual posted a number of statements expressing his displeasure, but none of them were deemed as threatening. After a few days, the individual’s posts returned to normal and the surveillance was discontinued.

Learn more about how to protect your workers from being bullied. Check out the “Workplace Bullying: Identification and Response” course on the AFIMAC online training site www.imac-training.com. Also, go to www.AFIMACSMI.com to see how to order social media investigative assistance discretely online.

Social Media Investigations

June 29th, 2015 Comments off

It always amazes me what people will post on their social media channels that they may not speak about while with a group of friends or associates. This even holds true for those that communicate about negative, unethical or even criminal activity. It is as if they think they speak in ‘code’ and nobody will notice or care except those they intend the post for. Maybe it’s the convenience, efficiency, and instant communication capability that the SM channels offer that cause this tendency. Or maybe it is just the ‘cool’ factor of being active on these sites. Whatever the motivation, this habit is one that we as corporate investigators, or public law enforcement, should not overlook.

In any investigation you must first ‘open all doors’ to assess what is happening or what has happened and who might be involved. Then once all potential individuals of interest are identified and the scope of the situation/crime is defined, you go through the process of ‘closing those doors’ and ruling out individuals that are not involved and narrow your focus on those who warrant closer scrutiny. Traditional investigative techniques (interviews, review of surveillance video, physical surveillance, document review, etc.) are typically used as the investigation becomes more focused but information available by mining social media channels can speed results throughout this process, as well as make it more thorough and cost effective.

Human Resource professionals should also be taking into consideration what potential applicants and even current employees are posting. It can be a reflection into someone’s abilities, character, interests, values, intentions, and past experiences. Often having internal personnel search for this information is time consuming and expensive, or you just may not have the staff or capability to complete it. However, through very inexpensive vendor services, this information can be gathered from publicly available sources. This process is known as open source intelligence (OSINT). It is out there for the taking and can be obtained very conveniently.

Using deep web harvester technology (powered by Bright Planet) AFIMAC has developed a specialized investigative service line with convenient online ordering, or corporate account status if desired, for fully automated social media ‘footprint‘ searches and social media surveillance/monitoring at very inexpensive rates. Check out our website for additional information.

https://afimacsmi.com/

Categories: Investigations, Social Media Tags:
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube