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The Effect Of Social Media On Surveillance


According to Pew Research, 70% of Facebook users check their account once a day (including 45% who check it multiple times a day).  Social media can turn into an addiction for some, constantly posting, sharing, and checking to see what others are talking about on their favorite social media platform.  In fact, recent studies have shown that social media interactions cause the brain to release dopamine in the same way as giving/receiving a hug would.  This rush gives a person the feeling of invincibility, which sometimes leads to claimants posting something they shouldn’t be.

In the world of investigations, knowledge is power.  As an investigation company, the more we know the better chance we have at obtaining good results during surveillance.  With the emergence of social media it has become easier to find out where a claimant is going to be and the exact time he is going to be there.  Think for a second about your social media presence.  If you’re going on vacation, attending a wedding, or playing in a softball league, you or someone involved is most likely going to post about it on social media.  Even if you do not have a social media account, your wife or girlfriend does, your kids do, or one (or all) of your softball teammates do.  I can guarantee that somehow, somewhere you’re on Facebook or Instagram.

Before performing any type of surveillance, we always recommend starting out by doing a social media investigation and then following up with a social network monitoring service (which monitors the claimant’s social media accounts for several weeks).  It’s the cheapest and most efficient way to find out information on your claimant.  If your subject is posting on his social media profile multiple times a day, he’s eventually going to slip up and give out information that may hurt his claim.  That’s when we send out our investigators to get the best film possible to help you determine the legitimacy of the claim.

Our success stories range from obtaining hundreds of minutes of film of claimants at golf outings, vacations, boating trips, working out, and anything else you could think of.  These all started with a simple social media investigation that informed us where we needed to be and when we needed to be there.  With social media changing the landscape in which we live, it’s important for our industry to change with it.

John Wichmann

Head of Research & Development