eLesson: Cyber-investigations in social media

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eLesson: Cyber-investigations in social media

This eLesson examines how law enforcement officers can use social media to investigate criminal activities. It is aimed at practitioner-level law enforcement officers specialised in cyber-investigations, and aims to enhance the officers’ investigation capacity in order to discover and obtain electronic evidence from social networks.

The e-lesson consists of three topic chapters as well as a glossary of terms and abbreviations related to investigations on social media. Users can also check their levels of understanding by considering a selection of quiz questions. In more detail, the topic chapters are:

1. Characteristics of social media: This chapter starts by summarising the important characteristics of using social media. It then looks at how law enforcement can benefit from using social media. This includes publicising the various police services provided to the community, engaging with the community, and enabling the public to support police activities.

2. Preparing the environment for cyber-investigations: This chapter explains how it is important, before starting a cyber-investigation on social media, to be digitally secure. The computer needs to be prepared, as a clean computer or virtual machine that is only used for cyber-investigations. It also requires having software which has not been compromised from previous activities. This chapter includes discussion of virtual machines, software updates, anti-malware software, system cleaners, virtual private networks, internet browsers and anonymous emails.

3. Searching for evidence in social networks: This chapter presents different methods and tools for gathering evidence in the three social networks used most by cyber-criminals: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For each of these social networks, it describes how to conduct searches for different types of content and how to download evidence from them.

Study time: 60 minutes

Target Audience: 

Practitioner-level law enforcement officers specialised in cyber-investigations.


Enrolment for this eLesson is now open for law enforcement officials on CEPOL's eLearning platform LEEd. ENROL HERE.



eLearning platform, LEEd


Office address

European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training
1066 Budapest
Ó utca 27

Correspondence address

European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training
1903 Budapest

Email address

Telephone: +36 1 803 8030/8031

Fax: +36 1 803 8032