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How Do Private Investigators Use Social Media to Crack a Case?

With almost everyone having a Facebook profile, our lives are becoming more and more an open book…which is not going unnoticed by Australian private eyes.


When a top Yahoo programmer went missing this year, both his family and employer feared for his safety. Weeks passed with little progress in the case and finally the services of private investigators were enlisted.



Within days, a trail of social media posts were uncovered and ominous messages left on Instagram and Twitter profiles suggested a history of depression and unhappiness.



The case was starting to break.



But how does a Private Eye use social media for cracking cases?



Here are some methods….



Over sharing.



In this modern age, our desire to openly share events and activities is truly staggering. By uploading photos, checking in, or updating statuses, a private investigator can easily click on a subject’s profile and view their recent whereabouts and activities.



One recent case involved a British man who stole $130,000 worth of jewelry and dramatically fled the country. It was by posting pictures of his glamorous vacation on Facebook that a private investigator discovered his location and alerted the police.



Combing software



Private investigators often use software to monitor how large amounts of people are responding to certain events on social networks such as Twitter and Instagram.



In a missing persons case this approach allows investigators to easily scour large areas of the internet by searching for hashtags that relate to the case. This method can often fast track a search by pinpointing sightings or locating clues.



Instant reach



Social Media is an immediate and effective way to reach a huge number of people in a short space of time. For a missing persons case, private investigators can monitor facebook groups and gather reactions from the participants. Because of this immediacy of social media, the investigation process can be vastly sped up.




How Do Private Investigators Use Social Media to Crack a Case?