Social Media Expert Witness On Social Networking Investigations Part 2

In Social Networking Research & Investigations, The Legal, Ethical & Evidentiary Issues, social media expert witness Richard B. Harer, V.P. Specialized Investigations, writes:

Examples of Investigative Use
Surveillance cases can benefit immensely by obtaining photos, habits, activities, and other pertinent information on the subject before initiating surveillance. Our firm was hired to conduct surveillance on a recent high profile personal injury case. We found through basic social media research that the subject was self-employed as a trainer at a local gym. His site provided his regular schedule and other upcoming outside training events that he was leading. Needless to say, the surveillance was extremely successful…thanks to the subject, and his social media activities.

Locating witnesses, insured, claimant, and others is another excellent use of social media sites. Our firm has tracked down many difficult and elusive individuals through their social media sites. Recently, we were able to serve subpoenas on several individuals by finding out where they were scheduled to play in a band at a local club.

Background information, character, habits, activities, financial information, and other useful information can also be obtained. In a recent case we investigated, an individual filed a disability claim with her employer, alleging that she was unable to type due to work-related continuous trauma to her wrists/hands. We found her on numerous social media sites, including Twitter, where she was posting (typing) dozens of “tweets” daily, as well as on other sites. In addition, she made numerous derogatory statements about disliking her job and her boss, which was further evidence of her motive for filing a work-related claim.

Identifying relationships/accomplices is also an excellent source of information on social media sites. We have investigated a number of suspected fraud cases, where we discovered that individuals who stated they did not know another party involved in their claim, were subsequently found to be “friends” on Facebook.

There are many other benefits of social media research and investigation, which is only limited by the researchers’ imagination…and time.

The following is a list of the ten most popular social media sites in the US (as of August 2011):

1. Facebook
2. Twitter
3. LinkedIn
4. MySpace
5. Ning
6. Google Plus+

7. Tagged
8. Orkut
9. hi5
A list of most social networking sites can be found at of social networking websites

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