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.