Five questions about social media analytics in the energy and resources industries

An interview with Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory leadership

For several years, social media data has been widely used to glean insights and information for marketing strategies and decisions. But only recently have analytics technologies and techniques become sophisticated and accessible enough to support corporate development, internal investigations, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) due diligence, litigation, jury selection, and assessing insider or activists threats. These new "sensing" capabilities present a key opportunity for organizations in the energy and resources sectors to address a variety of different risks. Whether identifying possible security or regulatory risks, supporting M&A, understanding the opposing party, selecting a jury, or deciding how to handle and diffuse internal or external opposition, Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory's social media sensing capabilities have significant potential for assisting oil and gas industry clients.

Five questions about social media analytics in the energy and resources industries

In the past year or so, new analytic tools have emerged that gather information from publicly available social media content. Using a range of proprietary and commercially available tools and demonstrated Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory investigative approaches, we can—in a matter of minutes—help uncover connections that previously may not have been identifiable. For example, we use this information, in tandem with traditional public record research, to help clients investigate potential security and insider threats and understand the social networks of environmental activists who have been significantly disrupting operations, particularly in the oil and gas industry. On a broader scale, we are using social media sensing to help identify bad actors in internal and FCPA investigations among employees and third-party vendors and understand their respective social networks.

This report seeks to answer the following five questions:
Question #1:

What opportunity does social media sensing provide?

Question #2:
Why should energy and resources companies pay attention?

Question #3:
How does social media sensing work?

Question #4:
How is Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory using these capabilities specifically in the energy and resources industry?

Question #5:
What are the leading social media sites for investigative purposes?

Key takeaways for energy and resources companies

Oil and gas companies face an array of risks today, from external threats like physical and cyber security, regulatory investigations of fraud, and continuing pressure from environmental groups and other activists, to intrinsic concerns like capital allocation and stakeholder management. Social media analytics can help organizations scan for previously identified threats—as well as pinpoint potential newer threats that have not been recognized before. Many companies, including those in the energy and resources industries, are still adapting their risk management capabilities to the rapidly expanding threat environment globally. The type of risk sensing Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory now offers can be foundational to our clients' abilities to assess, monitor, and manage risks going forward, whether those risks are transactional, operational, or event-driven.

As used in this document, “Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory” means Deloitte & Touche LLP, which provides audit and enterprise risk services; Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP, which provides forensic, dispute, and other consulting services; and its affiliate, Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics LLP, which provides a wide range of advisory and analytics services. Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics LLP is not a certified public accounting firm. These entities are separate subsidiaries of Deloitte LLP. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

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