Investigative Search Engine For Social Media Finds Fraud With Ease

By Jacques Slavoj, Parent Herald November 06, 02:46 am

Online scams are a headache, and social media has become more and more saturated over time. With the proliferation of its content, the power of social media has been tapped by many industries: advertising, marketing, and even the academe. With new web applications being built everyday, it's no wonder that criminal and legal work has come up with applications of their own.

Used to deepend and filter through social media results, Social Detection is a robust search engine that can crawl and churn results from various social media websites such as Facebook, Craigslist, and more. These results are used as variables in case analyses for private investigation and information security, tracking data leaks, and aggregating online evidence for use in court. Invented by Michael Petrie and Scott Catron, who both work as professional private investigators, the web-based application replaces the often arduous process of stakeouts with a more technical approach.

Today, our digital footprint creates a trail of hard evidence for investigators. The increase in our public visibility means that our lives' personal details become shared relentlessly. Securing one's online accounts is a step towards making the web a safer place to share, as there are many scams and malvertising schemes that litter online. According to a report by CNET, Social Detection offers a comprehensive analysis of results over time, all of which can be filtered through with specific categories.

In a report by Chicago Tribune, Michael Petrie said that "If there is fraud, it will be found, provided there's a web presence," such that this presence will reflect as a kind of online credibility. "It's not a reputation anymore. It's a webutation," the private investigator adds. The current limitation with Social Detection's web service, however, forbids individuals from making use of its interface. Professional licenses and legal papers through insurance companies are required for an account to be created, hence also securing other individual's privacy.

Future applications of the service remain unknown, but Petrie has stated that "we know it belongs in almost every category of business where people need to make critical decisions about people," maintaining that the service will most likely evolve into a database search for the public. This can help reconnect people who've lost contact with family and friends, as well as create connections for professional use. Check out this lecture video and learn more.

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