The Frightening Power of Social Media Investigations – a Special Halloween CALL Workshop

On Wednesday, October 29, CALL hosted a special Halloween workshop. Diana Koppang of Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP lectured on the “Frightening Power of Social Media Investigations.” CALL members learned how to use social media websites to hunt down hard-to-find people.

Many have heard of the most popular social media websites, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr, but Diana introduced the group to new platforms that many were unfamiliar with – Ello and Topix Forums. These sites aren’t as popular in large cities, but if you are looking for people in more rural areas, these sites might be your best bet.

Some additional tips that were discussed include:

  • Make sure you are logged out of your personal social media accounts or create an anonymous work account before beginning the search. For websites like LinkedIn that record visitors, this is important in order to keep your investigation target unaware of your viewing.
  • Always capture your findings because the Internet is always changing. One day the post will be there, and the next, it could be deleted. You should save the websites as PDFs in order to keep the source and date.
  • Oftentimes you will have to present your findings. In order to provide an accurate picture, keep track of your path. Use links and screenshot images to help create a visual representation of your work.
  • If you failed to capture a social media post but you still have the web link, try using archive.org to locate an archived version of the post.

Attendees also discussed new hot button issues with regard to social media.  These topics included e-discovery, authentication issues, search warrants, and service of process.  Did you know that this fall a judge in New York allowed service of process through Facebook?

If you are wondering how social media investigations might help you in your job, view Diana’s presentation slides here:

Download (PDF, 856KB)

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