Insights into Social Media Investigations

TAL Global now provides open-source (publicly available) social media investigations as a standalone service or a critical part of our other services. This might be included in the diverse types of investigations we conduct for a client, such as security assessments, workplace violence threat assessments, and the like.

Social media has become ubiquitous in our lives, with billions of people sharing their thoughts, opinions, experiences, and preferences daily. Much of this online activity can also reveal much information about an individual – information that someone, for instance, facing a workplace violence issue from an existing employee or planning to hire an individual would want to know.

As to what social media investigations are all about, they can be defined as:

A process of analyzing various social media platforms looking for posts relevant to a specific case, issue, or person. 

A social media investigation can help uncover evidence of fraud, identity theft, cyberbullying, harassment, defamation, or other illegal or unethical activities- information a potential employer or someone wanting to do business with the subject would want to know.

The process focuses on open-source information posted by individuals. It involves using specific keywords, hashtags, images, videos, locations, dates, and other metadata to search through millions of posts, looking for posts that could be concerning, relevant, or significant for our client to know.

In addition, we look for patterns, trends, and inconsistencies that can provide us with additional insights and data about an individual.  

And one more thing. Thorough social media investigations may also include analyzing an individual’s “likes,” followers, and connections. Remember the adage: “Birds of a feather flock together.” Knowing the type of likes a person leaves and their followers and connections can be very telling.

At this point, we must point out that when conducting a social media investigation, TAL Global respects all privacy laws, intellectual property, and legal or ethical concerns that may materialize during the inquiry.

 Social Media Investigations Questions and Answers

When working with clients regarding a social media investigation, invariably, several questions are asked. For added insight into this topic, here are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive:

How can social media investigations benefit me?

Using the example above, if you or your company has a workplace violence issue, is considering hiring an individual, or partnering with another organization, a social media investigation can prove exceptionally valuable, allowing you and your team to learn as much as possible about that person or organization.

As referenced, a social media investigation can reveal a wealth of vital and often unexpected information you should know before proceeding.

Are social media investigations like background checks?

Not really. It is a separate investigation focusing on open-source social media posts by an individual or members of an organization. It helps provide a more complete picture of an individual or organization. It is a practical, cost-effective process, and has become an essential complement to a comprehensive background investigation.

How do you begin a social media investigation?

Typically, it involves obtaining information on the target(s) of the investigation.  For example:

  • Personal information such as name, date of birth, and a headshot.
  • Military involvement or military records.
  • Education.
  • Where they live
  • The social media platforms they frequently use, also looking for little known platforms.

All this information is needed to ensure we have the correct individual(s) to obtain accurate results.

This information has proven so crucial for some organizations that they now have regular social media investigations conducted – whenever having a workplace violence issue investigated, a security or threat assessment, or making a hiring or partnering decision.

We welcome your thoughts. Please feel free to Talk to Us. TAL Global is an elite security, consulting, and risk management firm that protects human and physical assets around the globe.

Stay safe,

Oscar Villanueva


TAL Global

 O: 1-408-993-1300


social media investigations

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