Students Beware: Background Checks on Social Media History

Be smart about your social media. Companies are now checking applicants profile during the interview process.

Background checks have become a standard part of the job interview process. Companies want to know whether a would be employee has a criminal record and, now, how they handle themselves on the Internet. A new start up called Social Intelligence peruses the web for:

  • Online evidence of racist remarks
  • References to drugs
  • Sexually explicit photos, text messages or videos
  • Flagrant displays of weapons or bombs with clearly identifiable violent activity

The site has received opposition from groups protecting privacy, but the Federal Trade Commission claimed the site did not violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Students (and many Internet users) are often not aware that posts and information on social media sites are generally public material. It is important to monitor your Internet "lifestyle", especially as a student (social media is particularly successful among 13-25 year olds) because you never know who will look into your online history.

Especially in this difficult job market, it would be a shame to lose out on an opportunity for a silly mistake on a social media site.

What do you think about social media background checks? Do they violate an individual's privacy?

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