The Investigator’s Guide to Social Media introduces popular social media platforms and how information shared on these platforms can benefit investigators. In this installment, we’ll be discussing why one should be investigating Myspace.
What is Myspace?
Founded in 2003, Myspace is a social networking website which allows users to share personal profiles, blogs, photos, music, and videos. Since being the United States’ most popular website in 2006, Myspace has lost the majority of its users to Facebook.
Despite a decade of declining user activity, it remains an excellent resource for investigators. As Jeremy Barr put it in a 2016 article for Ad Age:
[x_blockquote cite=”Jeremy Barr, Ad Age” type=”left”]“These days, MySpace, the dominant social media network before being upstaged by Facebook, is valuable mostly for its data. MySpace still has a billion registered users around the world, and the data on those users is a hot commodity.”[/x_blockquote]
How does Myspace work?
Myspace functions similarly to many other social networking platforms. Users create personalized profile pages which allow them to share a variety of content with the world. Myspace users can view one another’s public profiles without connecting but must connect in order to comment on another user’s posts or communicate.
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- Public Profile – Public profiles can be viewed by anyone. By default, the following types of profiles are public: musician, filmmaker, DJ / producer, brand, venue, and comedian.
- Restricted Profile – Restricted profiles employ privacy settings which allow only the user’s profile pictures and cover images to be viewed until the users are connected. Myspace defaults to a restricted profile for all users younger than 16-years-old.
- Connections – Once users connect, they can comment on one another’s profiles, share email, and instant message.
- Mixes – Mixes are a user’s photos, playlists, and collections of videos all in one album.
- Blocking – Blocked users are not able to connect or comment, but are still be able to view the profile in question if it’s public.
Who uses Myspace?
Despite still having more than 50 million users, Myspace only sees 15 million monthly visitors. As Myspace isn’t attracting new, younger users, the demographics for the platform are skewed slightly older than those of its competitors.
Distribution of Myspace User by Age
What information do users share on Myspace?
Similar to many other social networking sites, the information shared on Myspace can aid an investigation in a variety of ways. When a user creates a Myspace account, they share their name, email address, date of birth, and location. Additionally, users typically share personal information when they post written content, photos, and videos.
Myspace users can integrate their profiles with Facebook and Twitter. This allows users to push content to these platforms, but may not necessarily identify the additional accounts.
How does one search Myspace?
Investigators can search for a subject’s Myspace profile using the individual’s name, username, or email address. If this information doesn’t return a definitive result, the profile picture and location associated with the subject’s account can aid in finding the right account.
Should you be investigating Myspace?
Investigators should include Myspace in their social media investigations. While you’re not as likely to discover evidence pertaining to recent events, it’s a great resource for investigating older cases or building lifestyle patterns. In fact, users are returning to Myspace in order to dig up old photos to share on Facebook and Instagram. If they can find a photograph for #ThrowbackThursday, researchers can uncover information relevant to their investigation.
Let us know how investigating Myspace fits into your discovery process in the comments section below. Want more information about SMI’s social media investigation or preservation products? Please contact us or call (888) 299-9921 and one of our representatives will gladly assist you.