Social Media
Jun 20, 2011

[Scary] Social Media Background Checkers Can Keep Your Dirt on File For Seven Years

comments 0 popularity
social media background check

Like bankruptcy, an ill-conceived Facebook post or Twitter rant can now stay on your permanent record for seven years.

The practice is new, but the Federal Trade Commission approved a practice last week for a background check company that scours social media and digs up dirt on you to provide to potential employers and others that might run such vetting on you. Forbes says:

The FTC determined that Social Intelligence Corp. was in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This means a search of what you’ve said or posted to Facebook/Twitter/Flickr/blogs and the Internet in general may become a standard part of background checks when you apply for a job.

The company claims that when those being background-checked “clean up” their social profiles, the service updates to remove the offending info- which is cold comfort if you’ve been denied employment because of a potentially questionable posting:

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

Social Intelligence says the background checks are limited to information and profiles that are publicly available, and also indicate that individuals must provide consent to be subject to a social media background check. Still, it seems the line between private, protected communication blurs each day- and not in favor of the individual. While still not falling afoul of privacy laws, this kind of feels similar to someone hiding in the bushes at a barbeque and listening to your conversations for incriminating info.

Would you consent to a social media background check? Do you use social media judiciously for fear of at some point impacting your earning ability?