Legally Defensible Social Media Collection

2423489530_3c9024fb5c_o-300x221.jpgSocial media collection for either litigation or compliance purposes is rapidly moving through the natural stages of technology adoption. As some organisations still come to terms with how to do it or even whether they should do it at all, the more advanced practitioners are already looking at how to do it well. In this case, ‘doing it well’ means fast, efficient and most importantly, legally defensible.

As is the way of things, I think it was my grandfather who first introduced me to the simple concept of, “if you’re gonna do a job, do it right.”  So if you need to collect or capture social media, what does it mean to do it right?

A Process you can Trust

Hanzo Archives continually strive for the highest achievable quality when producing legally defensible website evidence. It’s what our customers demand. It’s what we demand of ourselves.

The basic process of archiving website and social media content requires three steps: collection, storage and playback. However, this basic process is not enough for customers who may need to rely on the results in court. Hanzo Archives take the basic process and supplement it with decades of archiving and technical expertise to maximise the capture of content, guarantee reliable storage and eliminate spoliation concerns when the content is ultimately played back.


There’s a simple bottom line at this point: if you don’t collect it in the first place, it’s gone forever.

Social media collection starts with a state-of-the-art web crawler that’s capable of running all the the code inside web pages, interacting with every page element and able to capture all web pages in the ISO 28500 standard format. At Hanzo Archives, all captured content is then subject to a rigorous QA process.

Web technologies continue to rapidly evolve, so only this combination of an advanced crawler technology to collect both new and hard-to-get web content, with Hanzo’s Quality Assurance process delivers the quality our customers require.


Hanzo Archives take a simple approach to storage. We take the ISO 28500 standard format content and metadata, preserve it exactly as it was captured and store the forensic information required to prove authenticity. Every possible effort is made to guarantee the authenticity of the social media collection.

Playback Technology

The purpose of playback is to allow users to search and browse archived content in ISO standard format and to replay the original content and user experience exactly as they were on the live site.

Regular web browsers are capable of displaying archive content, but care must be taken so that archived content is not open to the Internet at large. We hear frequently from users of other archiving technologies that when looking at an archived site, they are not sure what is and is not ‘live.’  One user (of another provider) said that she has to literally unplug from the internet to make sure she knows what has really been captured.

If you can’t trust the collection, storage or playback, attorneys will be hard pressed to rely the content as evidence in a litigation.  Mixing live and preserved web content can lead to authenticity issues as well as spoliation claims.  It’s commonly known as ‘leakage’ and is an acknowledged problem with basic social media collection tools. The problem is made more challenging by the interactive nature and volume of media available on the modern web.

Hanzo Archives has solved this problem and, as a result, Hanzo can guarantee proper preservation of website and social media evidence.  Hanzo allows customers to choose from multiple playback technologies, depending on their own requirements.

As the volume of social media collection for legal and compliance cases continues to expand, Hanzo Archives continues to develop the technologies and process required to make collection fast, reliable and legally defensible. If you’d like to know more about how Hanzo Archives has helped organisations collect legally defensible social media, please get in touch.

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