SIU Today Summer 2021 - 20

address it has a specific Mastodon URL like https://democracy.
town/about. Each community is run by a single person or
organization, with its own rules about content and who can
have access. But instead of being stuck on one community, a
user can scan any community on Mastodon -
interacting with other users, gaining followers, etc. This is
where it can get interesting, as some communities have a
million users, while others like
have a dozen. From an investigative aspect, Mastodon is great
when dealing with specific groups, like ANTIFA organizations.
If you are doing organized crime research, finding one person
in a group will often point you to all the communities they
interact on, letting you map out their relationships and gather
additional intel much quicker.
If you've attended any of my recent classes, you've also heard
me talk about and the Foxhole app, twin platforms
by the same creators. These platforms are definitely more
alt-right and offer scheduled podcasts where the creators go
live to interact with followers. While certainly not mainstream
(yet), and with a considerable amount of QAnon conspiracies
and hate speech, these platforms
are still growing in popularity
and give a certain element a
means to promote themselves
and their ideas. I mention these
sites because the people creating
the content aren't mainstream
celebrities or professional media
types and could easily be that
claimant who has all the political
signs on their lawn. The other
interesting thing about these
two platforms is that they are
directly tied to Monarch Wallet,
a financial services platform,
which means that the content
creators have a direct way of
earning income from their
posts with donations processed
through Monarch. This is an
important aspect to think about
if you are looking into finances
or trying to verify income.
Speaking of platforms that blend financial apps and social
media, Patreon is another very popular platform that solicits
donations for aspiring writers, artists, podcasters and activists.
I find a lot of content creators linking to a Patreon account to
help generate income while simultaneously posting exclusive
content on there. And finding someone's Patreon account
usually leads me back to their other social media or online
activities. If you have someone who seems to blog or vlog a lot,
consider searching for a Patreon account for them. How? The
easiest way is to search their name in Google with site:patreon.
com in the search bar, or put their username at the end of the
URL like
But Patreon isn't the only means to solicit donations or get
money from posts. Ko-fi, Buy me a coffee, Flattr, Mintme,
Tipee, CoinDrop, and FundRazr are all growing in popularity,
especially for content creators and artists. That's because the
age of the 'Average Joe' social media influencer is upon us.
TikTok has certainly launched a whole new level of everyday
people becoming overnight sensations and making money
from it. In fact, user generated content from across all social
media has turned into mainstream entertainment and thus
a main source of income for some. You don't need to have
500,000 followers to make money, which means anyone can
generate income nowadays online. This also means that it's
a good time for you to start thinking about how to reshape
your interview or EUO questions in order to ask people if they
receive money from online activities. Making sure you are
asking the right questions could potentially open up a whole
new avenue and point you to even more social media accounts
for them that you weren't aware of.
If you are headed to Orlando, don't forget to join me for
my session Gathering Intelligence Online - 2021 Trends,
Techniques & Tricks Tuesday, September 14, from 10:10am -
11:50am. Until next quarter, be well and happy hunting!
Joe Stephenson is the Director of Digital Intelligence Solutions for INTERTEL,
Inc. and is an internationally recognized expert in the field of Social Media and
Open Source Intelligence (OSINT). A former Board of Director for IASIU and past
President of the New England Chapter, Joe welcomes questions; please connect with
him via LinkedIn.

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