Social Media Intelligence (SOCMINT)

Open enrolment and in-house options available

This course will give you the mindset, skillset and toolset to research, investigate and monitor an ever-expanding, and dynamically evolving social media landscape. Using case studies and hands-on exercises, you will learn how to gather strategic and operational intelligence from major social media platforms, as well as from niche players and emerging communities. You will also be shown how to plan and execute a social media investigation and how to monitor events, trends and targets in a way that maximises efficiency and security. Finally, instruction will be given on how to verify and validate information in dynamic operating environments.

Course Outline

Monitoring Social Media

Understanding Social Networks

  • Social networks: their history and evolution
  • A taxonomy of current social media platforms
  • Understanding users and their profiles
  • The key metrics of social media activity

Establishing Your SOCMINT Toolkit

  • Choosing your tools and managing your toolkit
  • Configuring your browser
  • Essential browser tools and extensions
  • Working with Android emulators

The Investigative Process

  • Defining your SOCMINT requirements
  • Planning SOCMINT investigations
  • Running cross platform investigations
  • First-time investigations of new platforms
  • Working with data collection templates
  • Working with target profiles
  • Documenting your investigation
  • Understanding legal, ethical and security issues

Automating SOCMINT
Collection

  • Monitoring frameworks and approaches
  • Keyword / hashtag discovery and validation
  • Source discovery and validation
  • Recommended tools, apps and extensions
  • Establishing a monitoring dashboard

Working with Major Social Media Platforms I

Working with Twitter

  • Finding users and their content
  • Mapping and investigating a user's network
  • Investigating and analysing a user’s content
  • Scraping and downloading a user’s content
  • Mapping and analysing geolocated content
  • Generating user stats and analytics
  • Searching for “deleted” content

Working with Instagram

  • Finding users and their content
  • Generating user stats and analytics
  • Identifying and investigating a user's network
  • Investigating and analysing a user’s content
  • Geolocating images, videos and posts
  • Downloading images, videos and stories
  • Searching for “deleted” content

Working with Facebook

  • Finding Facebook pages, groups and profiles
  • Investigating individual users
  • Investigating pages and groups
  • Mapping relationships and networks
  • Searching for Facebook-hosted content
  • Scraping and downloading Facebook content
  • Working with Facebook Mobile
  • Working with third-party research tools

Working with Major Social Media Platforms II

Working with YouTube

  • Searching YouTube: tools and strategies
  • Vetting and validating YouTube content
  • Investigating video metadata
  • Identifying related videos
  • Reverse video searching
  • Tools and strategies for video analysis
  • Working with YouTube alternatives

Working with Messaging Apps

  • Working with Telegram, Snapchat, TikTok and other mobile messaging apps

Working with Traditional and Visual Blogs

  • Mining blogging platforms for intelligence
  • Working with visual blogs (Pinterest, Tumblr)

Working with LinkedIn

  • Understanding the LinkedIn community
  • Searching LinkedIn content anonymously
  • Monitoring LinkedIn users
  • Exploring LinkedIn groups
  • Extracting LinkedIn content
  • Automating data extraction and analysis
  • Working with alternatives to LinkedIn

Foreign Language SOCMINT Sources

  • Mapping the foreign SOCMINT universe
  • Mining foreign language sources
  • Working with translation tools and extensions

Investigating Individuals, Communities and Groups

Investigating Individual Users

  • Finding people online
  • Mapping an individual’s online footprint
  • Screen name investigations
  • Unmasking hidden identities
  • Investigating hidden or deleted profiles

Investigating Online Communities and Groups

  • Working with forums and discussion boards
  • Working with chan sites and image boards
  • Working with Reddit and its alternatives
  • Working with interest-based communities
  • Working with independent social media platforms

Validating Your Content

Verifying and Validating Social Media-based Content

  • Identifying and validating fake profiles
  • Detecting bots
  • Verifying social media posts
  • Determining content provenance
  • Verifying images and videos
  • Working with fact checking tools

Course Details

Who is this Course For?

This course is for anyone who has to investigate or monitor social media for research, investigative or intelligence purposes.

How You Benefit

On completion of this course you will have the ability to:

  • Develop a rigorous research / investigations plan
  • Research, investigate and monitor social media platforms legally and securely
  • Search for content across multiple social media platforms
  • Identify and monitor influencers and opinion makers
  • Track the evolution of issues, trends and ideas
  • Generate intelligence from messaging apps and non-Western platforms
  • Use SOCMINT to support risk management and crisis response

What You Receive

  • A full set of course slides / user guides in PDF
  • Tip sheets and cheat sheets to enable rapid learning
  • An index of recommended SOCMINT tools as bookmarks
  • Templates to support data collation, verification and reporting
  • Six months of post-course support

Course Prerequisites

We recommend that participants wishing to take this course first complete our OSINT: Foundations course to ensure they understand the technical standards and operating principles that underpin our approach to data collection and analysis.

The course assumes you are familiar with generic OSINT workflows (requirements planning, keywords indexing, data collation, etc.) and have a good working knowledge of major search engines. We also assume you are familiar with the principles of online security.

Course Requirements

Please bring a Windows or Mac laptop and ensure you have full administrative rights to this device. Additional software requirements will be sent prior to the start of this course, including guidance on the social media accounts you should set up.