Potential Employers May Have Access to 7 Years of Your Status Updates

By: Chris Crum - June 20, 2011

The Federal Trade Commission has decided to stop investigating the practices of Social Intelligence, which offers employers a service that does social media-related background checking. In other words, its methods have been approved. That doesn’t mean said methods won’t be controversial.

It builds files of people, and keeps content for 7 years. You may want to check your privacy settings. It does only compile publicly available data, and when you apply for a job, you have to give consent for the employer to do a background check.

“We store records for up to 7 years as long as those records haven’t been disputed,” Social Intelligence COO Geoffrey Andrews is quoted as saying. “If a record is disputed and changed then we delete the disputed record and store the new record when appropriate.”

According to a report from Forbes, the FTC has determined the company was in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. At least employers have to inform you if they’re utilizing such a service.

On Social Intelligence’s site, it says:

Using social media for pre-employment background screening is a double-edged sword, a benefit that can also be a liability. Social Intelligence Hiring effectively removes the liability, leaving just the benefit for both employers and job candidates.

Social Intelligence Hiring ignores information that is not allowable in the hiring process, such as the “protected class” characteristics defined by federal anti-discrimination law (race, religion, national origin, age, sex, familial status, sexual orientation, disability status, and other qualities that are not allowed to be used as decision points). Therefore, job candidates are protected from discrimination based on these characteristics and, in turn, employers are protected from charges of discrimination.

While it’s no doubt wise to consider the kinds of things you are posting on the Internet, I also have to wonder if whether companies will become a little more lenient on what they consider to be questionable behavior online, as the younger generations grow up playing their whole lives out through social media. Mistakes will be made. What may seem like a social faux pas from a kid may not be so damning when such behavior is commonplace among job candidates. Still, I’d advise: don’t do anything stupid.

Chris Crum

About the Author

Chris CrumChris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

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  • http://www.lipoguide.com/ Lipo

    A sounds interesting and splendid. I think that during this generation, we have to changed although things periodically and social media is now familiar among us as business which we know very well. It directly moral effect on potential employers. Hope will see as soon.

    • Jake Long

      what are you trying to say here? this is total BS lets say you left your computer logged into facebook and one of your friends posts a comment messing with you. Everyone else gets the joke but this place marks it as bad reports it to your potential employer and now you do not have a job and it is saved for 7 years. GROW UP, WISEN UP, AND TAKE BACK YOUR FREEDOMS!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Brick-Marketing-SEO-and-SEM-Firm/14204584980 Nick Stamoulis

    I think that more and more social networking users are becoming increasingly aware of what they post online. Granted, the college junior probably isn’t thinking about how pictures from their frat party will affect their job hunt down the line, but they are learning to minimize the amount of openly accessible information they post. Because Gen Y is growing up with social media, they understand the effect of it better than anyone.