Friday, July 8, 2011
Your next job application could require a social media background check. Odds are, you have no clue what that means. Nobody does. It's new and scary and probably scours the Web for pictures of you puking on the beach.
But screw speculation. We wanted to know. So we ran background checks on six Gizmodo employees.
Here's what we found, and why you should both freak out about and embrace it.
First, some context: In May, the FTC gave a company called Social Intelligence the green light to run background checks of your Internet and social media history. The media made a big hulabaloo out of the ruling. And it largely got two important facts wrong.
Contrary to initial reports, Social Intelligence doesn't store seven years worth of your social data. Rather it looks at up to seven years of your history, and stores nothing.
The second was the idea that it was looking for boozy or embarrassing photos of you to pass along to your employer. In fact it screens for just a handful of things: aggressive or violent acts or assertions [like joining an online "hate" group?], unlawful activity, discriminatory activity (for example, making racist statements), and sexually explicit activity. And it doesn't pass on identifiable photos of you at all. In other words, your drunken kegstand photos are probably fine as long as you're not wearing a T-shirt with a swastika or naked from the waist down.
Basically, it just wants to know if you're the kind of asshole who will cause legal hassles for an employer.
Click here if you want to find out what a typical "Social Intelligence" report finds as well as what it misses.
Hat tip to Corey Friedman.