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Our managing partner, Philip Becnel, published an article on called, “How Thinking Like an Advertiser Will Make You a Better Investigator.” In the intensely personal article, Philip discusses how investigators can learn a lot about the inferences advertisers make based upon consumers’ behavior on social media websites.

Here is an excerpt of the article:

What attorneys and investigators should know is that leveraging the breadth of information available on social media—either to locate people or as evidence—increasingly involves thinking more like a computer than a blunt instrument. This is particularly true given that there is a trend toward the impermanence (sort of) and anonymization of some elements of social media, as evidenced by the popularity of companies like Snapchat and Whisper. Snapchat in particular, which allows users to send photographs to each other which then effectively self-destruct (unless the recipient does a screen capture), has become a bane for police investigators tasked with investigating underage sexting.

One way to better think like a computer is to understand how advertisers interpret your behavior and the behavior of other consumers to figure out things about you that few other people know. When you understand how that works, then you can use the same logic to glean similar information about the subjects who you’re investigating. What does the fact that a potential juror “likes” Wal-Mart on Facebook tell you about the likelihood they’ll be sympathetic to your client? How do you find someone online who primarily uses pseudonyms?

The rest of Philip’s article can be found here. Please note that you need to either log in through your LinkedIn account of sign up for a free subscription to