The MIDAS Trawler

July 2019


Social Media Searches

Friday 7th June Facebook made some unannounced background changes to the way Facebook could be searched. For years the search parameters were built around their own ‘Facebook Graph Search’ which let users search using either string commands in the relevant URL or any number of third party website tools – one of the most popular was ‘Stalk Scan’.

………but this extremely useful way to search Facebook has now been ‘suspended’ with no news as to if it will be re-instated or if a new way to search is on the way……. or if we are just stuck with the new primitive search bar………

Facebook is a valuable tool for online investigations and these changes have made a huge impact to investigators information / intelligence sources. However a few tools have surfaced to try and make searching a bit easier including ‘Sowdust’:

However these recent Facebook issues are a good opportunity for investigators to put more emphasis on other social networks that still have good search interfaces. The list below has links to third party tools that will enable ‘deep searching’ of some of the other big social network sites:


Fact Checking

Over the past few years electronic online information has become easier to access and distribute than other methods such as print. Information at your finger-tips is a great way to stay informed quickly but has also led to a sharp increase in ‘fake news’.

The Poyneter Institute host an annual Global Fact Checking Network where deligates discuss ideas and tactics to tackle issues such as fake news. This years network was held in Cape Town and featured 57 speakers. The Poynter Institute have issued the advice that was discussed at the forum which will help Investigators and business across the globe to improve their fact checking skills and re-sources. The main points can be found here: 9 fact-checking lessons from Global Fact 6.


MeWe a rival to Facebook


The Los Angeles Business Journal are reporting that the Social Network site ‘MeWe’ parent company have received another significant financial investment.

MeWe is a California based social network site founded in 2012 as a rival to Facebook. MeWe have so far raised around $15 million in total since its creation. MeWe is advertised as a private, no adverts, no spyware social media site. MeWe expect to have over 30 million active users by the end of 2019 with over half of this number coming from users outside of the U.S.

Using Machine Learning to Spot Photo Shopped Images


In the June issue of The MidaSearch Trawler there was a piece regarding fake face generators. Image manipulation as well as ‘Deep Fake Videos’ have the potential of fabricating information.

Adobe have over the years been innovators in photo-shopping software, but have now published a paper on how they are using machine learning to spot photo-shopped images. A solution is yet to be made available to the public from Adobe, however the video below gives a good overview of their work in tackling this issue. Whether it will be Adobe or another company who eventually release a solution to businesses and investigators to tackle the issue it is worth keeping an eye on any future developments.