Our Social Media Investigations Department

Video transcript:

Joseph Jones: My name is Joseph Jones. I’m the Vice President of Bosco Legal Services. I’m a certified social media intelligence expert and a certified expert in cyber investigations. As a social media investigator, I’ve received numerous expert certifications in social media and you know online intelligence. I’ve received over a thousand hours of training in these you know kind of very specific areas.

I currently serve on the governing board for an agency that trains government operatives, CIA, FBI. They brought me on to help manage their divisions for training private investigators as well. I’m also a continuing education provider with the State Bar and as such I’ve given trainings to approximately 2,000 attendees, judges, attorneys, insurance paralegals.

When people see what we do, the question is what can I do to keep myself safe online? The first thing I recommend is you never use your personal accounts to conduct any kind of investigation. Social media wants to link people together. Regardless of what they tell you, they’re tracking who you’re visiting and they’re going to alert the other side. Whether that’s in form of LinkedIn, who’s notorious for sending an email, “Hey, this person visited your page,” or Facebook, they’re going to suggest that person as a friend.

People post their entire lives online. Most of them don’t think twice about it because they think they’re, you know, private. They think their privacy settings are going to make it so only the people they want to view their content is online. We find oftentimes that’s not the case. As a general rule, I’ll tell people if you don’t want your worst enemy to have that piece of information, don’t put it online.

Social media platforms are constantly evolving. Every day, something new is changing. Along with that is privacy settings. You know, so one day you set up your account, you think the privacy settings are one thing. They’ll change something, they don’t tell you. Now you’re posting content that’s going out to the whole world and you don’t realize it.

So I recommend that you constantly, you know, check the privacy settings on your account. I recommend you going and you log in from somebody else’s account and go look at your profile so you can see what’s out there.

With the social media investigations we do, there are a lot of different components. The first is being able to find the accounts that are out there. Sometimes that’s easy, sometimes that’s really difficult. Oftentimes, you know, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram that’s what, you know, most people are thinking about. There’s hundreds of social media platforms out there. So we’ll go through and we’ll find all the accounts on all the different platforms.

Once you have the accounts located, then you need to forensically preserve the content. If you’re just finding something, printing it out on Facebook and hoping to use that in court, you’re going to be sorely disappointed if the other side knows what they’re doing, they know how to challenge that.

The courts throughout the country have come out with case law after case law saying that print screens are not to be used as evidence. You’ve got to extract the metadata. That’s the second big piece of what we do: extracting that metadata, so you can lay the foundation and authenticate the content.

If you need a social media investigator, go to our website: https://www.boscolegal.org/. You can send a request through that or you can email us at investigations@boscolegal.org.