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What You Need to Know About Social Media Investigations

December 18, 2018

Find and Authenticate Social Media Evidence

Video transcript:
How to find and authenticate social media evidence. Step 1: Locate the evidence. Basic search: Locate accounts on major and lesser-known social media networks that are tied to the subject’s given name. Advanced search: Locate the subject’s additional profiles by looking into aliases, nicknames and screen names. Associates search: Thoroughly search for accounts of friends, family members, colleagues and other known associates.

Step 2: Establish foundation and preserve evidence. Document evidence: Document who found it, where it was found and how it was found. Eligibility: The person searching for and collecting evidence must be eligible to testify and be independent of the attorney. Pull metadata: The metadata must be extracted from the post. No print screens. A post simply printed off from the internet should not be included as evidence and can easily be excluded if challenged.

Step 3: Authenticate the evidence. Tie post to subject: Review account details, friends, family and contact info to ensure the post came from your subject and not a similarly named person or impostor. Present metadata: Review the metadata to ensure the post data is consistent with your conclusions and present it in a way that is easily understood. Court rules: Present the evidence in a way that complies with the court’s rules for preserving and presenting social media evidence.

What do I need to know about provability and evidence validation? You must provide metadata and MD-5 hash values to prove and validate evidence. Metadata: A set of unique tags that identify who, when and where of a post. MD-5 hash value: A cryptographic function that acts as a digital fingerprint. Requirements: Courts specify what evidence must be presented and in what format.

Why should I use a social media investigator? Technology: Investigators have proven methods and the technology needed to pull valuable information. Access: Investigators can put together a profile even if the person’s accounts are private or non-existent. Requirements: Investigators know what courts require for gathering and presenting social media evidence.

An investigator can locate evidence on sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and over 60 other sites. And can search for information by date, location, time and keyword while searching videos, images, statuses, links and geotags. Get started today.