Social Media Intelligence (SOCMINT) is considered a sub-discipline of Open Source Intelligence (OSINT). SOCMINT can be defined as the techniques, technologies and tools that enable the collection and analysis of information from social media platforms. SOCMINT can be used not only by the Government sector, but also the Private sector, for example private intelligence agencies or private companies that need knowledge about an individual, group, particular event, or a number of other targets for marketing or distribution purposes.
Social Media Intelligence Concepts and Terms
There are many nuances in the field of SOCMINT, including the type of information that can be gathered and the type of platforms that can be used to gain information.
First, it is crucial to understand that SOCMINT includes all social media platforms, not only social networking sites. Social networking sites, like Facebook and LinkedIn, only make up one portion of the platforms that can be used to gather data. Information can be found on media-sharing sites like Instagram, forums like Reddit, image-sharing sites like Pinterest, video sharing sites like YouTube, microblogging platforms like Twitter, social gaming platforms like Xbox Live, and blogs created using platforms like WordPress.
Uses of Social Media Intelligence
SOCMINT is commonly associated with investigations on a group or individual involved in criminal activity, but that isn't the only scenario where it can be helpful. Other types of investigations where SOCMINT could be employed include :
While this is not an exhaustive list, it is meant to demonstrate that SOCMINT has many uses outside of those common to law enforcement. While state actors are prolific users of SOCMINT, private companies and organizations also use SOCMINT to collect information to inform business decisions better, improve marketing, ensure brand protection, and identify patterns and trends.