Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Keep Still, and They Will Not See You

December 14th, 2016 Comments off


One of the latest viral trends is the ‘mannequin challenge’, and there have been some very creative ones. Even professional sports teams, celebrities and a group of guests at the White House got in on the fad.

Sometimes people will go to great lengths to get views.

When corporations conduct social media investigations on existing or potential employees, they typically look to see if that individual posted anything on their profile that may suggest they could be involved in criminal behaviour, radical affiliations or views not aligned with workplace human resource policies.

Well, would you believe that someone posted a video on Facebook of a bunch of friends, heavily armed doing the mannequin challenge? Once the police and thousands of other viewers saw the video, they were arrested.

Believe it. There are many more background screening and social media investigations examples. It is always worth a look.

Miss Florida Stripped

September 20th, 2016 Comments off

miss florida

While in Florida at the ASIS annual conference on behalf of AFIMAC and FocusPoint, I caught a story on TV about a recent Miss Florida contest.

After Genesis Davila had won the crown, it was alleged that she had used professional hair and makeup services in her room, which is against pageant rules. Ms. Davila was stripped of her title and crown in the days following. Although there were alleged complaints from eyewitnesses, the damning evidence against Ms. Davila came from her Instagram account, showing her having her makeup done by a 3rd party.

Currently, Ms. Davila is suing for damages in excess of $15 million, sighting amongst other things, that the photo she posted of having her makeup done was taken the week before, not on the pageant day. If what Ms. Davila claims about the photo is true, it is possible pageant organizers jumped the gun without a thorough investigation.

In the corporate world, dealing with rule breakers, theft, WPV, harassment, and employees using drugs is something you would like to deal with quickly. Also, although a social media investigation is a good first step, following up with an employee interview and physical investigation is beneficial to support a termination and court proceedings if required.


Public Relations Fails to Secure Gold, Silver or Bronze

August 24th, 2016 Comments off


Update #1: after writing my blog, knowing that AFIMAC provided executive protection services to several athletes in Rio, I asked my colleague Adrian Vergel a couple questions as a follow up. See his thoughts further down.

I think that my first memory of a ‘non’ something was in a Seinfeld episode many years ago when one of the characters was asked to a party with no notice, with the host knowing full well that the invitee would not be able to attend. It was a ‘non-invite’.

Over the years, ‘non-apologies’ have been getting much attention. For example, a public figure does or says something that is not favourable and the public demands an apology; so they apologize. Their response is, “I am sorry it upset you” or “I am sorry that it was taken out of context.” Not really owning up to anything, and suggesting that they did nothing wrong. It was how others perceived it.

Regardless of what you think about Ryan Lochte’s actions that gained him attention outside of his success in the Olympic pool, he hired a PR firm to assist him. The statement below was his first regarding the situation:

If this was written for Ryan, which it most likely was, it failed to gain any acceptance from the public and media, possibly because it was a ‘nonapology’.

If history has predicted anything for brands, owning an error vs. trying to talk around it has always yielded a more favourable outcome. (For example Johnson & Johnson (1982), Texaco (1994), Odwalla Foods (1996), Toyota (2010))

As for Ryan Lochte, so far only Speedo has publicly dropped their sponsorship, and although nothing public has been said, sponsor, Ralph Lauren have removed Lochte from their website.

UPDATE #2: before I had a chance to post this blog, Ralph Lauren, Airweave and other sponsors dropped Lochte as well.

Lochte’s teammate Michael Phelps made it back in glorious fashion when his ‘brand’ took a hit, and he lost sponsors, so let’s see what Lochte can do. Whether with or without his new PR firm – they need to prove themselves as well.

UPDATE #3: Although I looked at the PR firms response, Adrian offered his thoughts related to the incident itself. He said: “The role of a security (executive protection) team should include not only the physical protection of the executives or VIPs, but should also consider brand and reputation protection. Keeping the protectees from harming themselves as well as those around them from causing damage.

Had the US swimmers been provided at a bare minimum secure transportation, there is absolutely no way any of this would have happened. If they had a security team with them the whole thing could have been avoided and certainly in the long run it would have saved millions in lost endorsements. A small cost to avoid substantial future loss.”

The Daily Ledger interviews Global Security Consultant Adam Curtis on Social Media Censorship

June 9th, 2016 Comments off

On June 7, 2016, AFIMAC Senior Director of Corporate Investigations, Adam Curtis was interviewed regarding social media and censorship on The Daily Ledger.


Tryna Look Cute

May 11th, 2016 Comments off

Billboard magazine published a feature article on Fifth Harmony, a musical group that included a photo of the entire band. Unfortunately, it seems that Billboard’s graphic artist accidentally placed two right feet on one of the group members (Brooke Hernandez) while modifying the image.

Brooke took it in stride (pun intended), and made a comment about it on social media, which gained a lot of fan support since the gaffe wasn’t her doing.


What you see may not be the reality, and this is often the case when companies promote their service offerings. Always vet a company against competitors, and ensure to follow up with their past clients as references.

Don’t get caught with a service provider ‘tryna look cute’ when they really have two left feet.

AFIMAC Global in Canadian HR Report: Hunting for Clues Online

April 19th, 2016 Comments off

Click article to enlarge. 


Reprinted by permission of Canadian HR Reporter.
© Copyright Thomson Reuters Canada Ltd., April 4, 2016, Toronto, Ontario.
1-800-387-5164. Web:

You Made Your Bed, Now Lie in It

February 23rd, 2016 Comments off

ME_SEP_DT_generic_FootballOne thing that has always pained me when playing team sports is when the rest of the team has to suffer consequences for another teammates actions. All too often during a close game, a teammate will do something that makes the team lose valuable time, field position, points and potentially the game.

Are we responsible to stop a teammate from swearing at the ref because they didn’t agree with the original penalty? We can try and quiet the offender after the fact so it doesn’t get any worse but could we have done something before the game? Absolutely. The team manager knows what that player is like and could have decided to discipline him or kick him off the team – but didn’t.  So the bed is made, now lie in it.

Recently in the news, a 20-year-old man said he received a homophobic Valentine defaced with slurs from a co-worker. The company, Party City now has to deal with the consequences of one of their ‘teammate’s’ actions. Is it fair to say, ‘you made your bed…’ in this case? Was the alleged offender known for stunts like this in the past?

What could Party City have done prior to hiring the alleged offender to verify if they were a potential liability? Background screening and a social media investigation might have helped, but if it didn’t, the company could have at least used pre-employment screening as a defense when the case inevitably ends up in court.

The cost for corporations having to react to something like this far outweighs the minimal expense of pre-employment background screening.

The Importance of Screening

December 23rd, 2015 Comments off


I believe that there are three options when it comes to pre-employment background screening relating to social media content, a potential candidate’s organizational fit, and legitimacy of their resume.

1.  You can go with your gut, and not conduct any meaningful background screening

a.       Gone are the days that anyone should put any real  stock in personal reference
b.       Not checking into educational claims
c.       Not checking a candidate’s social media activity

2.  Conduct a full background check

a.      Verify past employment and education
b.      Check past employer references
c.      Conduct a social media search


3.      Wait for the potential employee to send you unsavory text messages that give you an indication of future behaviour. Like this job seeker did, by sending naked selfies to the HR Director prior to beginning employment

a.      Like this job seeker did, by sending naked selfies to the HR Director prior to beginning employment


Okay, the third isn’t really an option I believe in, but it is a good example of why screening is essential.





Saying Checkmate Before the Game Starts

September 9th, 2015 Comments off


Unfortunately, there will always be people that will try to cheat, lie or steal for personal gain.

Recently, Italian chess player (probably should be described as former player now), Arcangelo Ricciardi was caught cheating in The Imperia Chess Festival, Italy’s longest running open event that attracts some of the biggest names in the sport.

Officials believe the 37-year-old was using a camera hung around his neck to transmit the game to someone with a chess computer program, who was feeding back moves using Morse code. Mr. Ricciardi must have had to learn Morse code, as did his accomplice. Build a contraption he could wear on his body that was hidden from everyone, but be able to transmit video and Morse code. That is a lot of work and commitment. Shame he didn’t practice the game instead. Read the full story here…

Think about this for the corporate world. If people are consistently inventing ways to steal from your business, what are you doing to counter it? Whether you apply new technologies, use social media for intelligence, penetration testing, security audits or investigations, you have to think like someone trying to beat the existing system, and stay a step ahead.

Categories: Security, Social Media Tags:

Death Threats

August 21st, 2015 Comments off

I’m always amazed at what some people share on their social media profiles, although I’m becoming less and less surprised. I just read on CBCNews that LA gangs are using the trending hashtag ‘#100days100nights’ to threaten each other over social media. Apparently it’s a contest between two rival gangs; who can kill 100 people first, and of course innocents are being caught in the crossfire.

Maybe it’s a hoax that someone hidden behind their social media profile started, but regardless, several others have latched on to it.  Simply scroll through the hashtag results and look at the language being used, the images posted, and what people are sharing with the online world. Viewer discretion advised.

If people aren’t afraid to post death threats, imagine what other things are being posted.

Completely unrelated to the LA gang issue, I checked some random tweeter feeds to see what I could find, here are some examples:

  • “Can’t wait to put in my two weeks notice”
  • “I can’t go back to work. Didn’t stop drinking until 6 in the morning. Slept for 4 hours drank a few now back at it tonight!!”
  • “Boss asked me how I was feeling. Oh yeah, forgot I called in sick when I was really at the beach lol”
  • “Who adds food to their order at the pay window!? Spit in food”

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