“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

A social media investigation is an investigation focused on gathering information from the various social media platforms and services about a person or suspect. Social media investigations are used for court cases such as divorce proceedings, custody cases and criminal trials. Social media investigations could also be used as part of a background check. Different social media platforms reveal different types of information, so most social media investigations will include a list of different accounts across these different services.

What is Included in a Social Media Investigation?

Social media investigations include all major social media platforms/apps and internet messaging services. This would include (but isn’t limited to): Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr and messaging services/apps such as Facebook Messenger, Skype, Twitter direct messages and WhatsApp to list just a few. A private investigator trained in this type of investigation can look at metadata, location information, timestamps and other information that the average person doesn’t know how to find or doesn’t have the right software to find.

How is the Information Used?

Depending on the type of court case or proceeding, different platforms reveal different information. This information can be used as supporting evidence, to prove or disprove an alibi, compile a list of known associates, find evidence of infidelity, establish a person’s character or even provide an inside look at a person’s thoughts and priorities.

For example, in a divorce case, a PI can use location data from Twitter, photos from Instagram, messages sent by Facebook Messenger, and even some Facebook posts to determine where the spouse was at a given time, with whom and who they were chatting with online. If any of these bits of data don’t match the story they gave their partner, it could be evidence of cheating.

In a custody case, a PI can use photos from Instagram and Facebook to compile a list of known associates, review Twitter posts to reveal if a parent is trustworthy/honest and review Tumblr posts to establish the parent’s state of mind, intentions, and priorities by looking at the pattern of the types of posts and the content of posts. This information taken together helps demonstrate whether a parent is suitable to maintain custody or visitation rights.

Can’t I Do This Myself?

It’s advised to have a professional private investigator handle this type of investigation. There are rules around how evidence from social media can be gathered and what is admissible or not. Also, a good deal of this information is found in what is called metadata, which is data “behind the scenes” that the average person doesn’t know how to find or interpret. Plus your private investigator is an independent third-party who can testify in a court proceeding to present the evidence gathered. As a party in the case, if you were to try to present such evidence, it could be ruled inadmissible or get your case thrown out of court altogether.

If you believe a social media investigation could help your case, talk to our investigators at Bulldog PI. We are the go to resource when you need to know the truth.