Leveraging Analytics for Social Media Investigations

Professional digital investigations often involve hundreds of thousands of items of disparate information. Many of our X1 Social Discovery customers report collecting and searching through over a million social media posts and web pages in a single case. With the amount of digital evidence that exists now, analytical tools like IBM i2 Analyst’s Notebook are critical to speeding investigation processes.  These tools provide multiple benefits:

  • Rapidly piece together disparate data into a single cohesive intelligence picture
  • Quickly Identify key people, events, connections and patterns that will likely be otherwise missed
  • Increase understanding of the structure, hierarchy and method of operation of criminal, terrorist and fraudulent networks
  • Simplify the communication of complex data to enable timely and accurate operational decision making

What investigators now realize is that social media data is critical and extremely relevant to nearly every investigation.  In fact, major social media evidence was overlooked in the San Bernardino shooting: one of the shooters, Tashfeen Malik, made several posts to her Facebook account in 2012 and 2014 that strongly suggested that she held radical jihadist views.  Also, there are indications that a comprehensive search of the publicly available information of her social media friends would have also indicated such ties. To date, however, Analyst’s Notebook users have not been able to quickly and efficiently take advantage of this evidence treasure trove.

Using slower, manual “flat file” data ingestion often leads to a highly manual and extremely inefficient process, plagued by broken links and over-importation of irrelevant entities and links.  X1 Social Discovery for i2 provides a simple, automated and highly scalable way to import this information directly into Analyst’s Notebook for immediate analysis and graphing.   As the graphic below shows, very powerful relationships can be revealed by people’s activities on social networks.

 analyst and X1

The X1 and IBM partnership is an exciting one – customers have been clamoring for an efficient mechanism to get social media content into Analyst’s Notebook and now they have it.  Please view the recording of the recent joint IBM and X1 webinar that demonstrates the product integration and how powerful social media analytics can be for investigations.