Social media provides an amazing opportunity for investigators to acquire evidence. Social media intelligence has become a common aspect of many investigations, including insurance fraud, intellectual property theft, online defamation, and even criminal prosecutions.
Social media capture and preservation is especially important in regulated industries, where social media posts are considered official business records and need to be retained for compliance.
The problem with manually gathering evidence
However, as beneficial as social media might be for gathering evidence, it comes with a new set of obstacles. Collecting evidence, in particular, may be time-intensive. Among the most difficult and time-consuming tasks are:
- Volume: Combing through dozens (or hundreds) of social media channels for related profiles
- Manual work: Manually expanding replies and comments to locate the relevant piece of information
- Proving authenticity: Tracing the origins of an internet image or files
- Taking screenshots of posts: Sometimes manually collecting an entire Twitter or Facebook account
These processes can take such a long time that conducting an inquiry is simply not cost-effective. Investigators can spend days on social media — but would a client be prepared to pay for your time?
Fortunately, there are social media investigation tools available that may considerably decrease repetitive tasks and even automate the acquisition of data. With these tools, you may considerably broaden your internet investigations and gather vital evidence before it is removed or edited.
6 social media investigation tools that can help automate the collection and review of evidence
Helps with: Collecting and preserving social media and other internet assets.
WebPreserver is an automated forensic preservation solution for social media and web material that can collect weeks of evidence in just an hour. Its auto-expand function automatically extends long collapsed articles, comment threads, and responses, ensuring buried material is recorded without you having to manually expand these areas.
WebPreserver can even record whole websites, Instagram profiles, and videos with only two clicks.
WebPreserver is a Chrome plug-in that may be downloaded via the Chrome Web Store, but a license must be purchased through the WebPreserver website.
Helps with: Identifying emerging social media networks and applications.
While it may appear that platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube dominate the social media scene, new applications and platforms are being developed all the time.
Makeawebsitehub routinely maintains a list of the latest social networking applications, which may be quite beneficial for broadening your internet investigations and locating those lesser-known sites that may be hiding important data.
Helps with: Locating personal, professional, and social information online.
Pipl is likely the most advanced person search engine available to investigators. Pipl gathers data from public documents, classifieds, directories, and online archives on the Internet, but it also has its own exclusive sources.
Pipl has worldwide coverage, with over three billion online identities and 25 billion individual identification information at its disposal. All you need is a single data point (such as a name, phone number, or email address), and Pipl will immediately supply you with all accessible data for that individual.
This information may include connected social media profiles, all known phone numbers, physical locations, places of employment, educational history, and so on.
Helps with: Locating the source of an internet image, reverse image search.
TinEye is a simple yet effective tool for tracing original images and conducting reverse image searches. You just need to upload an image to TinEye, and the application will find all the places where it appears on the Internet.
If a particular image appears on a Facebook profile, you can use TinEye to discover where else that image is used online, including other social media platforms like YouTube, Pinterest or Twitter.
Helps with: Advanced Twitter analytics aimed at analyzing an account and detecting relationships.
TweetBeaver is a tool that allows you to instantly grasp a large amount of information from any public Twitter account.
You can use TweetBeaver to check and analyze account data, download users’ favorites, see if two accounts follow one another, locate common followers of two accounts, and even find conversations between two users. Check TweetBeaver for a whole list of actions you can perform.
Helps with: Social media archiving, social media compliance, and ediscovery.
Jatheon can be used to automatically capture and retain official social media channels and enables quick search of all major social media records from a single screen. All social media records are captured with complete metadata and made searchable using 20+ advanced search criteria.
Jatheon is mostly used by legal, compliance and HR teams to solve disputes and employee misconduct cases, to prove compliance with government-imposed social media retention laws as well as to support social media ediscovery with authentic records.
Jatheon’s solution connects to a social media account and captures all posts, comments, replies, multimedia etc. (depending on the social network), including edits and deletions.
Another extra benefit of Jatheon is that it has an integrated redaction feature, so it’s easy to redact sensitive and personally identifiable information before exporting records for review.
Social media investigation tools can automate and speed up the collection of evidence from all major social media platforms.
While these tools cannot completely replace traditional human investigation, they can certainly help you collect evidence more efficiently and broaden your investigations, especially in early stages of the ediscovery process.
Get a demo to see Jatheon in action and get more information about the key features.
Compare Top Social Media Archiving Tools
The First Amendment and Social Media Policies