How changes in social media can affect your investigation

In the beginning of 2018, Facebook announced that they will be making several changes to their platform, post feed algorithm, API usage, and overall user experience.  Much of this change was sparked from the highly debated scandal with Cambridge Analytica, a data firm associated with President Trump’s 2016 campaign, which obtained information from 50 million Facebook users without their knowledge.  This event received high exposure on the news and across the internet.

Though Facebook has been the hot topic as of late, the decisions to make changes will not only affect Facebook and their users, but many other social media platforms as well.  When the largest and most popular social network in the World makes change, the others will follow.  This, in turn, will affect developers, marketer, researchers, and us as investigators.

Some Amazing Facebook Stats:

  • Worldwide, there are over 2.20 billion monthly active Facebook users for Q1 2018. (Facebook MAUs) which is a 13 percent increase year over year. (Source: Facebook 04/25/18).
  • 45 billion people on average log onto Facebook daily and are considered daily active users (Facebook DAU) for March 2018, which represents a 13 percent increase year over year.
  • There are 83 million fake profiles. (Source: CNN)
  • Every 60 seconds on Facebook: 510,000 comments are posted, 293,000 statuses are updated, and 136,000 photos are uploaded. (Source: The Social Skinny)

So, you probably are wondering why any of this is important.  Let’s look at it from a different perspective. 

More users of social media platforms are becoming increasingly “aware” of their personal privacy and overall digital footprint online.  Since these topics are frequently debated on the news and across the internet, people start to take notice, then react.  The next thing you know, more and more individuals are securing their social profiles with the new changes available to privacy settings, altering their username to be more discrete, or creating completely new “alternate” profiles with an alias name.  These are just a few steps people will take to secure their information online.

Of course, it is important for everyone to protect their privacy for many reasons.  Every day new scams, cyber-attacks, data breaches, and identity thefts occur. But this also enables individuals the ability to hide potentially valuable information if under investigation for a claim.

Here is an example:

Let’s say you have a Worker’s Compensation claim on an employee stating he was injured at work.  However, during your investigation of this claim, some red flags appear making you question the validity of his claim.  Maybe the employee has a repeated history of the same type of injury, or he reported the injury several days, weeks, or even months after the injury occurred.  Perhaps it’s well known that the employee is an avid outdoorsman, or regularly plays golf on the weekend.  Their injury could have occurred during these types of activities but was later reported as having happened at work.

To attempt to identify and verify the employee’s social activities, a social media search is performed.  Unfortunately, the employee has changed his social media profiles, hiding them from public view, and you are unable to acquire any information that can benefit your claim.

You can spend a great deal of time, effort, and expense utilizing social media searches if not performed by an experienced and certified Cyber Investigator.

If you are attempting these online search methods in-house, or with a vendor that is not certified or up-to-date on the latest open source media trends, you are most likely missing potential evidence for your claim.

We Can Help Get You the Results

GII offers multiple cyber investigation services from First Glance Reports to Open Source Media Monitoring. With the vast number of social media websites available and the percentage of people that use them, online research has become an essential resource.

GII Analysts and Researchers are certified Social Media Experts and Cyber Intelligence Experts, with the skills and knowledge to find, identify, assess, and record valuable information on a claimant online.

By identifying or monitoring the claimant’s online accounts, we are able to document activities that may be relevant to a case. It also provides insight to the claimant’s personality, habits, social connections, and history, all of which can be used to collect evidence and reveal important patterns during the investigation.

Let us get you the results you need on your next claim. We have made it as easy, simple and convenient as possible, with our online case request form to submit your referrals.

Submit your case request online and see the difference with GII.