Social media sites are an outstanding source of intelligence about a person. Information on addresses, schools, activities, social circles, interests, and employers is often publicly available. Over 4.48 billion people use social media, with 9 out of 10 internet users using it at least once a month.
People often post private details about their life that they wouldn’t offer freely in an interview or courtroom setting. A person’s online persona is often very different from the professional image they attempt to portray in the real world.
Private investigators and cyber investigators use advanced tools to data mine information from hundreds of social media sites. In this article, we’ll outline some of the ways that data mining of social media is used by businesses and individuals today and why you need to hire an experienced, professional private investigator to perform it for you.
Why use social media data mining?
Data mining social media is an important tool for almost any private investigation. Businesses and individuals alike can benefit greatly from the vast information available on social media.
Performing background checks
Your company takes a big risk when you take on a new employee. People with questionable professionalism, poor work ethics, or even criminal backgrounds can often slip through the traditional interview process with ease, as they’re always able to put their best face forward.
When you hire someone new, they can quickly gain access to critical company resources. They may be tasked with representing the company. The wrong person could irreparably damage your brand or cause you immense sums in lost earnings.
A deep social media investigation will tell you much about an individual. A private investigator with the right tools may uncover reasons to avoid a candidate. Perhaps they have extremist views or have badmouthed previous employers online. Maybe they’ve hidden a prior criminal conviction from you or have been fired from a string of jobs. Data mining investigations can show you the truth.
- Data mining for legal battles
If you are involved in any form of legal battle, a social media investigation by a professional private investigator can be invaluable. Social media can be used to verify or disqualify an alibi, find supporting evidence, or establish a foundation of character.
- Employee investigations
Do you suspect an employee is engaging in activities contrary to their alleged disability or sickness? Social media investigations, paired with traditional investigative searches, can uncover the truth.
Similarly, social media investigations are useful for loss prevention. Information on your workforce garnered from social media can highlight potential business risks. Has an employee with high-security clearance recently been in contact with a rival of yours? Are important employees posting on job search sites? Have any of your workforce posted about illegal or unethical activities?
With the right social media monitoring software in place, you can be alerted to these issues as they arise, allowing you to act instantly to protect your business assets.
- Domestic investigations
Social media data mining for domestic investigations can help support suspicions of infidelity. Social media posts and images are often tagged with a location, placing an individual at a particular place at a certain time. This can be used to refute claims a partner has made about where they were and who they were with.
- Custody cases and divorce proceedings
Custody cases and divorce proceedings can benefit from social media data mining because you can often find evidence online of an individual’s true priorities and intentions that contradict the image they are trying to project. Social media posts can go a long way to establish a foundation of character.
- On-going investigations
Beyond pulling historical data from hundreds of social media sites, private investigators can use sophisticated software to monitor an individual’s activities in real-time. When they make a new post or create a new account, the investigator is alerted. This information can paint a vivid, up-to-date picture of where the subject is, what they are doing, and who they are associating with.
Is social media data mining legal?
Social media data mining is legal. It is used extensively by companies, governments, and researchers for a wide range of applications. Information from social media platforms is aggregated and analyzed for patterns and trends. This information can be used to identify behavioral patterns and has applications in everything from personalized marketing to product development.
Everyone has the right to a “reasonable expectation of privacy”. However, from a legal standpoint, social media platforms are considered public places. Anything a person posts on social media can be handed over to an attorney to be used as evidence, for example.
There are some rules one must follow when focusing an investigation on a particular person. For instance, if data is limited to a particular circle of friends, it can only be used by the investigator if they are invited to the group and they don’t misrepresent themselves. Investigators may not gain access to social media accounts by pretending to be someone else.
We strongly advise using a professional private investigator to perform your social media research. Trained cyber investigators are licensed and know the law. Performing social media research on your own can get you in legal trouble if you unethically use data mining tools.
Why hire a private investigator for social media data mining?
Private investigators and cyber investigators have access to specialist software that performs a quicker and more efficient search of social media. Data is quickly categorized and disseminated using these tools, and evidence is stored in a precise format that’s required for provability.
Without these specialist tools and methods, comprehensive social media data mining is virtually impossible due to the huge amounts of data available online, and it is harder to prove definitively that a deleted social media post once existed.
Private investigators also have a strong understanding of the ethics and legality of performing data mining investigations online. If you attempt to perform an investigation on your own, you risk your evidence being inadmissible.
Social media investigation is only one part of the picture. For a successful investigation that will hold water in court, you need a private investigator to find corroborating evidence outside of social media posts alone. At Superior Investigations, data mining investigators are are ready any time or day.