Compliance Consultancy
Consultancy and management firm

Adverse Media

Have you ever heard the terms Adverse Media Screening or Negative News scrapping and wonder what they mean? For the compliance professionals, these terms refer to an essential step of the Customer Identification and Mandatory Verification process of their financial institution.

What is the definition of adverse (media) screening ?

Adverse media screening is the process according to which a customer (physical person or moral person) is compared ("screened against") to negative information and data sources. The data sources contain information about the involvement of the person in money laundering, fraud, finance of terrorism and other economic scandals or sanctions.

Interested in implementing a screening system for your business profiling needs? Have a look at the Screening page for more information on Screening meaning and methods.


The controls can be achieved by different means. The last years, automatic screenings through IT tools have eased the job of compliance professionals and have made the screening process more accurate and faster. However, a professional's overall evaluation is always necessary.

The sources used for Adverse Media Screening can be numerous and depend on the industry objective. The sources vary from primary search engines to sanction lists, governmental lists, other official records, social media and any additional information that can provide accurate information to serve the investigation objective.


How to efficiently process the screening results ?

The results of the screening can be divided in three categories:

  • No matching results: the screening is completed and the individual under investigation has not appeared in any source of result. If the setup of sources is sound, you can assume the result is accurate.
  • True positive hits: Identified matches. Confirmed by analyst evaluation.
  • False positive hits: Identified matches. Discounted by analyst evaluation. The hit may share similar information that gave rise to the "false-identification". Homonyms, birthdays, nationalities, backgrounds and insufficient filters might not help the screening tool cannot build a clear distinction.

The Negative Media Screening challenges

The screening process can be challenging. The news is constantly changing, and it is very often that analysts have to spend a lot of time to evaluate the results. Even if it looks like an easy exercise, in reality, it can become time-consuming, and an experienced analyst may be required. Another issue is that there is news in many different languages, and the lack of professionals, who speak these languages may result in insufficient findings.

Another factor we should take into account is the non-updated sources and their inadequate context. It is not unusual that big databases and governmental lists are not updated very often, and there are wrong or missing information provided.

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