Social Media Threat Assessments

Social Media Threat Assessments
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Module 1
Recorded on: 2022-02-24
Unit 1 Presentation Materials: Social Media Threat Assessments
Unit 2 Transcript: Social Media Threat Assessments
Unit 3 Workbook: Social Media Threat Assessments
Unit 4 Recording: Social Media Threat Assessments

As people’s lives get more and more intertwined with the digital world, actors with criminal intent are leveraging social media and other online spaces to wreak havoc, threaten communities, and spread misinformation. With this in mind, law enforcement likewise must put focus on digital spaces in their efforts to maintain peace and order. This webinar tackles threats done on social media and how law enforcement can manage these.

Leading the discussion is Katie Nelson. Katie is the Social Media And Public Relations Coordinator at the Mountain View Police Department where she manages the department’s social media and outreach campaigns and serves as its Public Information Officer. She presents and teaches across the US on social media best practices and crisis communication strategies.

Specifics of the webinar include:

  • What the threat assessment is, the categorization of threats, the four components of a threat assessment, and what it aims to achieve.
  • The concept of leakage and specific elements that convey threat that law enforcement look for.
  • The open-source data available on social media which deems it useful in conducting threat assessments.
  • How social media is being utilized by the public the communicate, air their thoughts, concerns, and grievances, and share information, especially during the pandemic.
  • The prevalence of social media use in both digital immigrants and digital natives at present time.
  • The other online places where people converge and conversations happen that are worth looking into during threat assessments.
  • A glimpse into the type of content and topics found in social media that are categorized as threat.
  • Looking into misinformation, fake profiles, and accounts that initiate conversation which can create emotional reactions from the public.
  • The concept of geofencing and how it can be utilized to corroborate claims based on the device’s location services information.
  • Studies conducted by the Statewide Terrorism And Intelligence Center on school bomb threats that revealed how most of the sources of the threats were electronic in nature.
  • Techniques and tools used to facilitate social media threat assessments.
  • What metadata is, the type of information it provides, how it can be used, and why it is critical in these threat assessments.
  • A step-by-step guide on how to find metadata across different devices and operating systems.
  • The value of social media threat assessments in modern-day investigations where it is being used as supplemental legal evidence.
  • The importance of social listening and having options in terms of tools and techniques to be able to capture threats as they come up.
  • Case law that shaped how thret assessments are being conducted.
  • The composition of the social media threat assessment team and their duties in conducting successful threat assessments.
  • Case examples were provided to illustrate:
    • The type of content that may be considered a threat.
    • How looking into an individual’s social media can reveal a lot about them and their potential to become a public threat.
    • How targeted threatening messages in social media led to the arrest of an individual.

Points raised during the Q&A were about:

  • Retrieving deleted posts or tweets through a preservation order.
  • The Chrome extension used to show metadata information.
  • At which point in the social media threat assessment process will a search warrant be necessary.
  • Monitoring alternative social media sites.
  • Red flags to look out for that may indicate misinformation or bot activity.
  • How to best capture videos posted on social media.
  • Critical information that must be documented in threat assessments.
  • Discerning between freedom of speech and what constitutes a threat.
  • Whether diverse image search works on screenshots.



Other Webinars with this Presenter


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Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “The presenter was obviously very knowledgeable and well-spoken.” — Alison
  • “VERY knowledgeable presenter! Detectives attending this webinar will be ahead of the game! Thank you for these time-saving tips and all the useful resources. Thank you for offering this very important training!” — Roseann
  • “Honestly, the entire webinar was very eye-opening. I’m a police officer in Prince George’s County Maryland and social media threat assessment is something that we aren’t taught. I’m glad I could get the training today and will continue to educate myself on this topic through JCH.” — John
  • “I learned a lot from the presenter. These were things I did not know prior to this webinar.” — Joseph
  • “I think this was a very well-prepared and informative webinar.” — Kory
  • “She had some very good tips on the mechanics of finding useful information for LE follow-up.” — Scott
  • “Many practical and easy to implement things. Katie Nelson is a rock star instructor!” — Barend
  • “Katie Nelson is a tremendous presenter who is also an expert PIO. Thank you for providing us with free access to learn from her expertise.” — Rick


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