Automated Tools: False Positives and Other Associated Risks

SMI AwareBlog

When it comes to social media intelligence and analysis, scraping (or automated) tools are widely used to obtain evidence. At SMI Aware, we do the work differently. The value of our in-house analysts proves that evidence gathered in a different way will only result more beneficial to your case, and uphold better in a court of law.

The inherent risks of utilizing automated tools are vast, starting with the loss of the human element when selecting what would be considered admissible and important evidence for your case. Through the use of scraping tools, nuances and nomenclature are lost. A scraping tool is not able to correctly identify everything you may need for your case, either leaving important information out of the report, or providing too much information. Having an abundance of information can cause you to waste valuable time sifting through it to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Automated tools are also impacted by social media platform changes. As the API (Application Programming Interface) of a social media network changes, these automated tools may not be able to keep up. In an attempt to protect user privacy, automated access to Instagram’s API has been removed. This means that those automated tools will not be able to pick up and download your social media evidence.

By utilizing automated social media intelligence tools in your case, you run the risk of false positives. The swirl of fake news has found its way into mainstream media, so avoidance of incorrect and uncorroborated evidence is important. There is not a technology today that can scan an unstructured database as effectively and efficiently as an analyst is able to. There is not a way to trick software to gather intelligence.

At SMI Aware, we use a proprietary tool for information gathering. Combined with in-house analysts and their use of 80 different search strings, we bring the human element to social media intelligence that cannot be replicated with an automated tool. The reports containing evidence gathered through proper social media analysis are succinct, only providing evidence that can be used, and upheld, in court. Our process nearly eliminates the dangers of false positives and other risks that come with utilizing scraping tools, with an end product that’s as close to accurate as one can get.

Automated tools may seem like a quick way to get the evidence you need for your case, but you will often spend more time digesting the results and determining what is crucial to your case. An analyst team can work behind the scenes to gather usable social media intelligence, and do so in 3 to 5 days, so your case is not held up during the discovery phase.