It appears in May, the FTC gave a company called Social Intelligence the authority to run social media background checks. In other words Social Intelligence has the governmental authority to dig into your social media an Internet background on behalf of 3rd parties such as a future employer(s).
Think about this for a minute. There is now a company who offers a service to scour you social media background for your future boss. I’m not surprised in the least bit. If anything I’m surprised it’s taken this long.
Social Intelligence scours your social media and Internet presence to see how stupid you are. Do you use, talk about or promote drugs. Are you some sex freak, posting nude or graphic pictures of yourself or others? Are you a fan of Hitler, the KKK or the Swastika? If you are that stupid, you won’t pass the test.
What I thought was refreshing about this service is it doesn’t share the keg stand(s) you did every Friday while you were in college, or even the lame one you attempted at the your college homecoming when you were 35. Social Intelligence doesn’t share your age, race, religious orientation etc. They only focus on the stupid stuff. I like how Gizmodo broke down the benefit of a future employer using this rather than the company doing it themselves:
. . . ultimately the bottom line, and my takeaway, is that these kind of services actually make a lot of sense. Employers would have to be stupid not to Google job candidates. Yet it’s better for both the employer and the candidate to have a disinterested third-party do full-scrape background checks. We now routinely bandy about the kind of information online that employers are legally prohibited from asking. Your average Facebook profile can reveal an entire litany of details like your race, sexual orientation, national origin, or religious affiliation that are off-limits in the hiring process. As an employee, you don’t want potential employers knowing certain things about you that might make you a less attractive candidate due to their personal biases. As an employer, even if none of those things matter, just accidentally finding them out can be a problem. For example, consider the following scenario. Let’s say you’re a California-based employer and you do a basic background check on a job candidate. In scouring the Web, you discover a brand new Tumblr update that says “I’m pregnant!” Holy impending mandatory paid time off! But you’re good a corporate citizen. That doesn’t matter to you. Yet for unrelated reasons, you hire a different candidate. Meanwhile, the rejected candidate sees your company’s IP address in her analytics program. She assumes you didn’t hire her because she’s pregnant. She sues. Now what? If Social Intelligence finds out you’re pregnant, or gay, or a Muslim, or newly married, or newly gay married to a pregnant Muslim, it leaves that out of its report. All an employer sees is, basically, that you passed or failed. And it won’t flunk you for getting drunk or knocked up.
Our lives our increasingly under scrutiny. Not because of some Orwellian shift in our society. But, simply because there is more information. Information WE share. Our social media background is controlled by us. To think it’s not fair game is silly. Be smart! There is no such thing as sharing with ONLY the people you want. Sharing on the Internet is like a secret. It’s never shared with just one person.
- Employers Look More Closely at Social Media Activity (news.dice.com)
- Jennifer Waters’s Consumer Confidential: Could you pass a Facebook background check? (marketwatch.com)