The successful use of social media AI/algorithm tools has proven their effectiveness, in both civil as well as criminal investigations. There are remote and indirect relationships, all of which are key connections found by the platform that would most likely never be uncovered using conventional investigative techniques. There is also an application that is not generally known but is extremely useful, when deployed to find offline targets.
Certain types of investigations require learning the identities of individuals linked to known targets, but who are not users of social media. These include important investigations of:
(1) Gangs, not all of whose active members or associates might be social media literate, or who are so far down on the pecking order as to be offline. Law enforcement must identify all the individuals in the table of organization.
(2)Terrorist groups, whose rank and file may be inclined to individually stay off social media, while the organization itself extensively and adroitly exploits social media. They exist in both hierarchical and leaderless versions.
(3) Verification of the status of an individual as a Politically Exposed Person (PEP), and whose identification as a close associate of a corrupt government official means that his financial dealings overseas thereafter shall be closely and continuously monitored by his banks, if he is even found acceptable on a risk-based assessment.
Information obtained on the individuals identified as the results of such inquiries are sometimes referred to as Shadow Profiles, for they rely upon information collected solely using open-source social media resources, to identify non-user targets, even though they are presently outside the social network.
Shadow profiles are constructed by a close examination of potential associates who are already known, across the complete spectrum of social media, using Artificial Intelligence. The information collected using algorithms is employed to infer that certain non-users are a part of the targeted group organization. Among the tools utilized are Internet Archive data sets, the use of information from defunct or disappeared social networking sites, individual pages previously deleted, photographs of & references to nonusers appearing on social media, and user contact lists where nonusers are also listed.
The goal achieved is the near real-time identification of individuals who intentionally or incidentally are absent from conventional social media sites, but are known to be critical to building a complete and accurate picture of your target organization or group. The individuals identified as Shadows fill in many critical gaps in the target's table of organization.