The 7 Most Asked Questions About Social Media Screening and Consumer Privacy

Social media background screening can sound scary. Often times, when asked what we do for a living, those of us who work at Social Intelligence hear a sheepish “Ohhhh wow! Don’t look at my accounts!” We chuckle and try to give the quick explanation of what we do because we get it, on the surface it sounds like a George Orwell novel. Rest assured, these are things we think about and have responded to over the better part of a decade. In fact, we use this blog to deliver info that is both informative and eye opening. We’ve been pretty successful at educating employers about what they need to know regarding the legality of social media as a background tool. From a consumer perspective, however, we strongly feel you should know your privacy rights when it comes to background screening, especially within the intersection of it with your online life.

Below is a compilation of the most frequently asked questions about consumer privacy to our team by employers and employees alike.

How do you know you are looking at the right person online?

The Social Media Hiring Report™ procedure is curated with the guidance of renowned employment law experts. Our trained analysts use matching criteria that is provided during the employment application process to identify a candidate correctly online. Whether the information and the candidate are a “match” is determined by combinations of provided information. For example, an email address is considered a positive match. First and last name must be combined with other provided information for a positive match such as employment history, education information, or an image.You can email us to find out more about our matching process.

Can a company review more of a candidate’s profile than just the negative content Social Intelligence finds?

A best practice for employers is to never review your candidates’ social media profiles internally. Our analysts review for adverse content only that covers the most dangerous workplace safety concerns. This is beneficial because our review and social media report respect candidate privacy and eliminates the potential risk of a boss or co-worker viewing a candidate’s personal life before hire. Employers reviewing social media content could lead to accusations of discrimination or violations of freedoms.

Do I need to get consent to run a social media screening?

Yes. This is mandatory per the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Make sure to read your consent forms thoroughly and request a sample report if you would like to see what is being reported to your employer.

Is Social Intelligence a consumer-reporting agency?

Yes, we are the only Social Media consumer reporting agency who’s process and product has been reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission. Contact us to view a copy of our Letter of Review from the Federal Trade Commission’s Division of Privacy and Identity Protection.

Is my employer breaking the law by doing social media screenings in-house?

They could be! From hiring managers to HR directors or CEOs, a company could be at risk if they are “Googling” candidates in-house. Best practice is to have a third party conduct social media screenings and tracking social media activity on your behalf.

What social media/online data is considered protected class information?

Possibilities are endless but include anything (and I do mean anything) related to race, religion, national origin, disabilities, pregnancy, family status, gender presentation, sexual orientation, age, military status and much more.

Do you hack people’s accounts or “friend” them?

Never. Social Intelligence only reviews publicly available information. Hacking, asking for a password or friending someone that is a candidate before hire could be a violation of certain state laws.

What if I have a different question?

Contact us with any questions you might have.