Privacy concerns have moved to the forefront of social media during recent years. Most social media users do not want their personal information collected. When it is collected, users want to know why it is being collected, where it is going and how it is being used.
These concerns date back to 2016 when a political consulting company, Cambridge Analytica, was found harvesting personal data from millions of Facebook users. Cambridge Analytica was connected to political campaigns in the 2016 presidential election, and was using this data in an attempt to target and influence Facebook users.
In a recent federal lawsuit, Facebook was called to explain how their system allowed for this misuse of data. After a lengthy legal debate, and hours with Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, on the hot seat in front of Congress, Facebook has made some major changes to its privacy and data practices.
How Have Social Media Privacy Concerns Been Addressed?
Facebook has cracked down on the accessibility of its users’ information. Platforms like Facebook use what is called an API, or an application programming interface. Think of an API as a middle-man between your device and the information you are looking to find. An API allows your device and third-party applications to communicate, or exchange data.
Facebook has recently made major changes to their API. As a result, many of the third-party programs used to gather data from these sources have been stunted.
Keep in mind that Facebook is not the only platform being forced to adjust. We are seeing changes across many platforms, including Instagram, which happens to be owned by Facebook.
Do Changes in Social Media Affect Social Media Investigations?
As social media investigators, we also have to adjust to changing platforms. Social media is always evolving. These privacy changes have made some of the most popular social media investigation tools obsolete. It used to be possible to enter an individual’s phone number or e-mail into the search bar and locate an account. Features that used to be available to locate an account or information are gone.
Fortunately, despite these changes, social media investigations are still alive and well. By utilizing a wide array of techniques and tools, a quality social media investigation process is protected against large-scale privacy setting changes like we have seen in recent months.
These changes reinforce the need for experienced and skilled social media investigators who are able to access a large repertoire of tools and tricks to both locate the accounts of their subjects and preserve necessary information.
The Bosco Legal Services Investigations Team prides themselves on staying in front of these changes. We continue to provide the comprehensive social media investigations which you have come to expect. For inquiries, please call us at (951) 289-5761 or fill out our online form to discuss how we could help you!