Forensics: Investigative social media analysis

Start adding items to your reading lists:
Save this item to:
This item has been saved to your reading list.

Social media has sharply expanded the risk landscape for companies. Here’s how to keep tabs on the chatter — and one step ahead of the danger.


The number of online channels where humans interact, do business, and reveal personal details continues to grow. And so has the risk landscape for companies. Damaging news can easily spread across the internet, feeding the flames of corporate scandal. 

If you don’t monitor the chatter, you could miss critical warning signs of a looming crisis — and find your organization in a volatile situation that’s hard to control. PwC social media analysis can help.

Why social media analysis?

Investigations, disputes, due diligence and regulatory pressures are generally costly, complex, multi-layered affairs that frequently extend beyond jurisdictional and cultural borders. Without adequate visibility into the unseen corners upon which outcomes depend, companies can find themselves at a strategic disadvantage. 

To bridge those information gaps, legal professionals are increasingly seeking support from specialists who can help collect and analyze big data (including the sprawling, multilingual universe of user-generated content) using advanced techniques such as network analysis – and turn it into valuable insight on which they can quickly act.


Legal and ethical guidelines for analysis

  • Investigators may only gather publicly available information, so that the results of the discovery are fully compliant with the law and respectful of the boundaries of personal privacy. 
  • “Pretexting” (i.e., presenting oneself as someone else – including through the use of “dummy” social media accounts or “bots” – in order to obtain private information) is unethical and violates user agreements with data providers.
  • On the other hand, social media profiles that are freely accessible without logging in, and open to the public, may potentially be used.
  • User agreements of social media data providers must be scrupulously followed. Some sites prohibit use of such information in the context of corporate investigations.

How PwC can help

Contact us

Dyan Decker

Dyan Decker

US Forensics Leader, PwC US

Emily Kent

Emily Kent

Partner, PwC US

Follow us