The FTC has given thumbs up to a company, Social Intelligence Corp., selling a new kind of employee background check to employers. This one scours the internet for your posts and pictures to social media sites and creates a file of all the dumb stuff you ever uploaded online. For instance, this sample they provided was flagged for “Demonstrating potentially violent behavior” because of “flagrant display of weapons or bombs.”
The FTC said that the file, which will last for up to seven years, does not violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The company also says that info in your file will be updated when you remove pictures from the social media sites. Forbes reports, “new employers who run searches through Social Intelligence won’t have access to the materials if they are completely removed from the Internet.”
While we store information for up to seven years we do not “reuse” that information for new reports. Per our policies and obligations under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, we run new reports on applicants on each new search to ensure the most accurate and up-to-date information is utilized, and we store the information to maintain a verifiable chain-of-custody in-case the information is ever needed for legal reasons. We are not however building a “database” on individuals that will be evaluated each time they apply for a job and potentially could be used adversely even if they have cleaned up their profiles.
Another profile was flagged for having racist tendencies for clicking “Like” on a Facebook group called, “I shouldn’t have to press 1 for English. We are in the United States. Learn the language.”
So many things wrong here I don’t even know where to begin…
* How do they know they have the right “you?” The profile on “John Smith” has got to be horrendous.
* Can you now sabotage someone’s job prospects by creating a fake profile of them filled with racist, homophobic and violent imagery?
* Considering how hard it is to fix an error on your credit report, how hard will it be to fix an error on your social media report?