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A framework for the forensic analysis of user interaction with social media

IGI Global
Publication Date
  • Criminology
  • Design


The increasing use of social media, applications or platforms that allow users to interact online, ensures that this environment will provide a useful source of evidence for the forensics examiner. Current tools for the examination of digital evidence find this data problematic as they are not designed for the collection and analysis of online data. Therefore, this paper presents a framework for the forensic analysis of user interaction with social media. In particular, it presents an inter-disciplinary approach for the quantitative analysis of user engagement to identify relational and temporal dimensions of evidence relevant to an investigation. This framework enables the analysis of large data sets from which a (much smaller) group of individuals of interest can be identified. In this way, it may be used to support the identification of individuals who might be ‘instigators’ of a criminal event orchestrated via social media, or a means of potentially identifying those who might be involved in the ‘peaks’ of activity. In order to demonstrate the applicability of the framework, this paper applies it to a case study of actors posting to a social media Web site.

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