Background searching through social networking sites

A report issued by CareerBuilder concludes that 1 in 4 hiring managers have used the Internet to check the background of prospective employees and what they find is a lot of dirt.

Of those hiring managers who used Internet search engines to research job candidates, 51 percent did not hire the person based on what they found. Of those who used social networking sites to research candidates, the majority (63 percent) did not hire the person based on what they found.

Over 60 percent of the managers who search the candidates on social networking sites didn’t hire them! Litigation attorneys take note, and private investigators who delve into traditional background sources for their clients should add Internet search to their list of services.

I was invited to speak at the Southeast Investigators Conference, hosted by GAPPI this past weekend. In my presentation on Internet search I gave examples of the types of information I’ve uncovered on social networking sites, some of it up-to-the-present messages to “friends” about work schedules and activities. This is an arena to mine for personal and work histories and photographs.

Police detectives have discovered that they can get evidence of gang affiliation searching the pages at MySpace, a social networking site that enables people to link Web pages, forming communities of friends.

Photos are posted by people in gang clothing demonstrating gang signs. They also link to friends who are doing the same thing. Everybody wants to be a star.

Here’s the search query I ran using the term “Victimville”, which Victorville, California Detective Jeremy Martinez said is a gang slang for that town, to extract Web pages that include the term “Victimville”. There are about 350 links so probably other locals besides gang members use this appellation. But a search by a gang name returned a manageable three sites. Visit the links on these sites to connect to the Web pages of friends of Victimville (definitely not a library association) residents.


2 thoughts on “Background searching through social networking sites

  1. I’ll be speaking on this very topic at the California State Bar annual conference in September. Here are some of my postings on social media sites and techniques to search them.

    MySpace wins the Web site popularity contest

    Interestingly, the link in the following posting to the MySpace search on a gang name is no longer available.

    Background searching through social networking sites

    I gave a demonstration of another way to formulate a search query in this posting.

    I did a posting on using search engines that pointed the reader to a guide to using advanced search queries, which would apply to some social networking sites.

    Many of the social media sites, like Facebook, require registration before you can search within the site.

  2. Tamara,

    Good afternoon. Has anyone ever written an article on how to go about searching social networking sites for background information on subjects?

    Knowing the tips and tricks of how to research this information would be very useful in developing leads while conducting background investigations regarding insurance fraud cases.


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