Think social media is just for catching up with friends, sharing recipes, and watching funny videos? Think again! Using the social web has become an integral part of work for investigators. So much information is shared with smartphones and social media that it’s absolutely impossible to ignore. And the amount of data is growing every day. We’ve compiled a list of tools that can help with the process.
Reverse Image Search
Google’s reverse image search allows you to scour the Internet for any instances in which a particular photo (or similar photo) has been posted on Facebook, Instagram, blogs or anywhere else on the Internet. Cool huh?!?
While it’s not perfect, it can be an incredibly powerful tool if you are trying to find social profiles of individuals or websites in the deep dark web. This can benefit investigators because most people don’t bother changing the profile picture for the various social networks they use, often using the same exact photo and posting the exact same pictures.
Do you know that not everyone uses his or her real name on the Internet? Shocking I know! While the person you are searching for may go by James Rogers in real life, he may go by MrFalcon001 on the Internet. While this makes people more difficult to track down, one thing we have going for us is that people are creatures of habit. Once they’ve got a username, they usually stick with it. So if a person is MrFalcon001 on Instagram, there is a good chance that he is MrFalcon001 on many other sites as well.
That’s where Knowem comes in. With Knowem, you can search over 500 popular social networks to see whether that particular name has been taken.
With more than 200 million active users, Instagram is a phenomenal (and growing) source for investigators. But since Instagram was built as a mobile platform, it doesn’t have a very good “desktop” version to search with. Drum roll…Instagram for Chrome. On your desktop you can search hashtags, GPS tags and user tags in order to develop a full picture of close confidants and groups of individuals who were a regular part of the target individual’s entourage.
Get Involved with Social Media
The best way to know how social media works is to actually use it. Learn how people interact, get attention, post, like/heart/retweet, friend, etc. It’s amazing the amount of information you will uncover.