Forensic study of authenticity of social media posts

Currently, technology is very present in our lives, so that more and more, computer-based evidence is part of everyday life in the judicial field. One of the most common cases is the accreditation or challenge of facts related to information published on social networks, in which it is sought to determine its origin, authenticity and integrity.

Nowadays, social networks are here to stay, they have entered our lives and have become one of the main means of interacting with our environment. Misuse of them can lead to the commission of a crime. Typical examples are threats, insults, coercion, etc.

Minors are the ones who have more problems with social networks due to their ignorance. They, through this type of network, trust unknown persons by providing them with personal data. Problems arise when these strangers intentionally misuse them for malicious purposes, being in most cases of a criminal nature.

It is very common, to commit the temerity, to present a screenshot of a social network printed on paper as evidence in a judicial proceeding. In this case, the evidence is rebuttable since screenshot of a social network, given their nature, may be manipulated, and their mere printed presentation is not enough to prove their origin, authenticity and integrity.

As it is indicated in the Supreme Court Judgment 300/2015, May 19th , 2015 the proof of facts by means of screenshot of a social network “… is approached with all caution by the courts of justice. The challenge of the same displaces the burden of proof on those who intend to take advantage of their probative suitability. In such a case, the practice of an expert evidence will be essential … “.

Frequent cases

The most frequent types of orders are:

  • Forensic intervention in publications on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.
  • Forensic intervention in web publications published through social networks.
  • Forensic intervention in comments published on social networks about the publications under study.
  • Evidentiary investigation of cyberbullying and digital gender violence.
  • Forensic intervention and study of the origin, authenticity and integrity of photographs, videos or digital audio that are part of the publications on social networks studied.

Some interesting judgements

“It is noted in the appeal that, as recognized in the contested judgment, and in relation to the alleged threats that are the subject of conviction and the lack of harassment, the only existing evidence in relation to such infractions is made up of various messages ( ‘Tweet’) on the social network ‘Twitter’ transcripts of ‘screenshots’ or printing of such messages, issued from a Twitter profile called ‘des pe cha do’ @ despechado2.”

“… he has denied at all times, since his first statement, the authorship of the same.

Of course, there is no report whatsoever on the origin, authorship and possible alteration and authenticity of the messages and the creation of the ‘Twitter’ profile from which the threatening and humiliating messages (‘tweets’) were sent, stating only that the messages were published from a profile of said Social Network called ‘des pe cha do’ @ despechado2′, whose identification icon, as occurs in thousands and thousands of non-personalized icons, is the representation of an ‘egg ‘, really ignoring if they were ‘tweets’ or were direct messages (DM).”

“Specifically, according to the appellant, the affirmation that it was he who sent the Instagram message to the complainant lacks evidence, since at all times he denied having done so, without any proof having been practiced to prove his authorship.

“We consider that the appellant is right when he affirms that the evidence has been erroneously evaluated and, as a consequence, there has been a violation of the presumption of innocence. The defendant denied having sent the message and being the owner of the account from which the message was sent.”

“The verification procedure of the Lawyer of the Administration of Justice has judicial public credibility in the content of the message and the denomination of the accounts of origin and destination. However, it does not prove that the first of those accounts belongs to the accused, nor, of course, that it was he who sent the message.

“… there is no doubt that there was the possibility of resorting to this by incorporating the expert report referred to by the Supreme Court or by communicating with the provider of the messaging application.”


This type of evidence can be contested and therefore, rejected, ruining the entire procedure. To determine whether this type of evidence can display probative value, the forensic analysis of a certified computer expert is essential.
Likewise, we must bear in mind that in recent years, the number of works and computer expert opinions that are dismissed in litigation and are not taken into account at the time of sentencing. The reason is none other than a huge increase in the number of computer experts who are not legally authorized to act before the courts, and who therefore incur in the crime of professional intrusion. We can find a clear example in the Judgment of the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid 531/2017, Social Chamber, Section 4, July 19th , 2017, in which it is stated in the first point of the grounds of law, that:

“The appealed ruling is essentially based on the ineffective and invalid expert evidence that has been provided as the only justification for the facts imputed in the letter of dismissal to the plaintiff, for several reasons explained by the Magistrate of Instance in her ruling. The first is because she understands that the expert presented by the company lacks an official degree in computer science, although at this point it is recognized that the expert is the person who provides computer assistance to the company as a freelancer, which implies at least a practical knowledge of what he is hired for. On the other hand, the informal nature of the expert evidence and the questioning of the chain of custody are argued. Special mention is also made of the breach of the guarantees of the plaintiff’s right to privacy at the time of carrying out the inspection and search of the computer equipment, declaring it proven that the plaintiff was not present. In short, the Magistrate of Instance, evaluating this evidence and the testimonies provided at the oral trial concludes that the defects in the practice of the expert evidence carried out by the company prevent granting probative value to this means of proof, and given that it is essential to prove the facts imputed to the plaintiff, declares the dismissal unjustified.”

The computer test must be certified in a computer expert opinion, prepared by a legally qualified computer expert. In our Frequently Asked Questions section you can find more information about it.

Why hire our services?

From FORENSICTECH we provide our clients with the security of having:

  • A computer expert specialized in your case, collegiate and legally authorized to act in the Spanish courts of justice.
  • Appropriate instruments and specialized software to develop your expert report.
  • Legally recognized chain of custody investigation and assurance methods.
  • An effective and efficient work in the requested expert report.
  • A certified computer expert opinion, which greatly increases your credibility and reliability before judicial bodies, as it is endorsed by a professional association.
  • A computer expert capable of facing the ratification in oral proceedings in all jurisdictional orders.
  • Our performance in all the courts of justice throughout Spain in all jurisdictional areas.


Receive the latest news by email
Remember that you can unsubscribe sending an email to
Skip to content