How-To Information from a Low Profile Company

October 26, 2020

Terminating fake social media profiles, especially on Facebook, has been a high priority since the 2016 US presidential election. Social media companies have task forces that diligently remove scam accounts (supposedly), but as technology advances bad actors always find ways to keep the fakes rolling. It comes as a surprise that a social media monitoring company actually created an instruction manual on fake profiles. Vice has the story: “Surveillance Company Explains How To Keep Facebook From Detecting Fake Accounts In Leaked Manual.”

British owned Blackdot Solutions developed the open source based online investigations platform Videris. Videris is used by government organizations, banks, and other businesses. Motherboard obtained a user manual from Blackdot Solutions that instructed its customers how to create fake Facebook and LinkedIn accounts to collect people’s information. The manual also explains how to avoid Facebook detection.

The guide offered a very insightful behind-the-scenes look at how social media monitoring tools work from a layman’s POV.

More and more businesses and law enforcement agencies use social media monitoring tools to collect information. One common tactic is befriending people of interest on social media to work around privacy settings.

When confronted with the leaked manual, a Blackdot Solution spokesperson denied being aware of its existence and Videris was not used in such a manner:

“Videris does not unravel private networks. It can’t do anything that users couldn’t do themselves if they were to log into social networks in the normal way,” Adam Lawrance-Owen, Blackdot’s head of product, said in an email. “The advantage of our software is twofold. It allows for more effective investigations to help catch fraudsters, money-launderers and terrorists. And it allows those investigations to be carried out in the most secure and discreet way possible, which is absolutely essential when dealing with these sorts of matters.”

The user manual proved otherwise. Videris makes any scrapped data readable and it also includes colorful charts and graphs. Blackdot Solutions has since remained mum about the manual.

Whitney Grace, October 26, 2020

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