The Perils of DIY Social Media Discovery and Analysis

Using a DIY strategy for tasks like simple household repairs can be both smart and satisfying. Taking a hands-on approach frequently saves money, and doing things yourself often ensures that everything is completed according to your specifications. However, social media evidence collection is a process best left to professionals.

In the hands of a trained and experienced team, social media intelligence can yield a treasure trove of valuable data. More importantly, assigning the task of online discovery to specialists helps to ensure that the process delivers maximum results and that those results will be admissible as evidence in court.

DIY Social Media Discovery Fails

Social media is often about the next best thing, and the popularity and use of platforms can change rapidly. But that does not mean that the older or less popular platforms should be ignored, as they often still contain valuable information. Understanding where and how to conduct searches for potential online information across all social media platforms is key to finding the needed evidence for a case. Firms that don’t understand how to navigate and search on the latest platforms and the older ones, or rely on outdated social media data collection processes or techniques, may fail to collect valuable evidence vital to their case.

Another hazard of DIY social media data collection and analysis is that a firm’s attorneys may become involved with the chain of evidence and inadvertently become parties to a case. Without the right understanding of how and where to properly search for, collect, and preserve social media evidence, it doesn’t require brilliant legal analysis to see how this scenario could be problematic.

Social Media Collection Processes

In the past, many personal details about individuals were considered private, and people were less likely to share that information publicly. These days, people of all ages and all walks of life willingly post photos, videos, and detailed accounts of their work lives, romances, and everyday activities to online social media platforms. When compiling evidence for a case, conducting a discovery process without including social media evidence is tantamount to neglecting to execute due diligence. Social media content represents the heart of digital evidence collection efforts. While gaining access to private social media profile content may require a court order, several social media platforms provide tools that enhance the quality of data collected from public posts. Having a team specializing in collecting and analyzing that data can ensure you have all the evidence available online and that it has been collected, analyzed, and preserved correctly.

Correctly finding and collecting social media evidence can be a moving target as trends in social media platforms and regulations around admissibility and chain of command shift

Correctly finding and collecting social media evidence can be a moving target as trends in social media platforms and regulations around admissibility and chain of command shift. But just because the information is accessible doesn’t always mean you are collecting it properly. A significant advantage to using a specialist for social media research and data collection is that they specialize in managing social media evidence and have specialized tools at their disposal to ensure a thorough, admissible search. For instance, digital forensics captures the metadata associated with social media posts, such as timestamps and IP addresses, that can help authenticate content contested by an opposing party.

Best Practices in Social Media Discovery

The discovery process can make or break a case, and social media evidence collection is an increasingly essential element of discovery. Assigning this task to a specialist like SMI Aware ensures that the discovery process is thorough, effective, and, most importantly, admissible as evidence in court.

Outsourcing social media and online data research with a reliable third-party professional service, like SMI Aware, can reduce the risk of bias. Our in-house analysts use proprietary software to identify and curate information that is valuable to your case while providing the benefits of independent 3rd party data collection. The SMI Aware application controls the search and collection process, so you can be assured that each report is generated to the same standard of quality. Whether you need one report or 1,000 SMI Aware delivers quality and accuracy. It is a smart investment that can yield significant bottom-line savings.

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