SOCMINT – Social Media Intelligence Gathering

Social Media



What is SOCMINT?

Social Media Intelligence (SOCMINT) consists of a set of search methods and technologies. These forensic techniques aim to monitor social media networking platforms and users.

Many people connected their smartphone (cellphone number) and computer systems to social media systems. Moreover platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, Pinterest and Instant Messaging (IM) chat systems WhatsApp, FB Messenger, WeChat can map your social networks (friends and contacts). In fact their artificial intelligence algorithms are masters in profiling and data collection.

Monitoring of Social Media

What is being monitored? Social Media Intelligence is related to intelligence gathering, open-source intelligence (OSINT) and other surveillance activities.  SOCMINT is conducted either overtly and covertly.

Take note that OSINT sources are different from other intelligence sources. The season for this is that they are legally accessible by the public without breaching any copyrights, patents or privacy laws.

  • published content
  • messages
  • images
  • comments
  • social media identities and associated data
  • individual users
  • groups
  • person-to-person, person-to-group, group-to-group interactions
  • content in public or private groups or pages

Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) collects data from publicly, available, open/overt sources. We use this intelligence in a given context.

Consequently, Social Media Intelligence (SOCMINT) is a type of OSINT where data is obtained from social media networks & sites:

  • published content
  • linked metadata (extra info)

Many times people use the same username on different social media platforms. This name is in many cases linked to the same email address or cellphone number. Consequently, once the main identifier is clear, then the search expand to different social media channels – using the same or similar usernames.

How to use SOCMINT? Methods of information extraction.

  • content is extracted and replicated in into offline and other online database systems (easy to search)
  • collection, retention + analysis of social media data
  • what are people saying about your product or service?
  • what are people saying about your company?

Social Media Investigation

Short overview of what type of information can be gathered and where to find it.

  • data is collected and processed for future analysis
  • data points & personal information (PID) of a registered person (on Facebook)
    • political views
    • religion
    • ethnicity / race
    • country of origin
    • personal images and videos
    • spouse name (or marital status)
    • home and work addresses
    • locations visited
    • social activities
    • sports activities
    • restaurant visits
    • work history
    • educational info
    • employment history
    • residential address
    • social connections
    • places visited
    • habits
    • likes and dislikes
    • family members
    • spouse
    • important event dates
      • birth days
      • graduation days
      • relationship updates
      • dates when leaving or starting a new job
    • social interactions
    • date/time of posts
    • geo-location info 
  • checking publicly available information on social media
  • gather relevant social media intelligence
  • analysis of main social media ID and meta data
  • video content on sharing platforms (e.g. Youtube, Vimeo)
  • content on blogs, forums
  • presence on social gaming platforms
  • social bookmarketing (Pinterest)

Social Media Psychological Analysis

An important element of analysis of all these data points is the Psychological Analysis of what users have published online.

  • performing linguistic analysis on the target account
  • tone and content of the post (photos, videos, text messages, status messages)
  • verify the true identity of an anonymous account
  • monitor the times/date of posts or comments
  • location of the subject – geolocation data
  • linguistic analysis to detect human feelings

Social Media Investigation

The uncontrolled growth of social media and how the social media companies connected themselves to organizations, society & corporations, has created huge IT security challenges & cyber security issues.

As previously stated this justifies a serious effort in how social media penetrated your environment, how they got past the firewalls and what the risk & benefits are of being connected to social media networks.

How do you manage this type of activity? How to get some feeling of control? How to audit activity? How to represent your company online? How to mitigate social media risk? How to act when a bad thing happens?