Facebook is a social network with over 800 million users. It connects people from all over the world and a private investigator notes that employers can use it as a background screening tool to help maintain the validity of an office.
Individuals willingly share personal information about their lives, including their phone numbers, email addresses, photos and real-time locations. In fact, Facebook has a feature on its website allowing users to share exactly where they are at a particular time. For example, if a Facebook user goes into a restaurant, by the press of a couple buttons, a notification on Facebook will show up depicting the address and name of the restaurant that individual just entered. This notification is available to view for anyone linked to the individual's account, and sometimes strangers as well. While hackers and identity thieves may obtain personal information on Facebook for personal gain, employers, managers and business leaders should use their employees' Facebook profiles to make sure they aren't breaching company protocol. Steve Davis, a private investigator for a leading background check agency, said in a statement that Facebook is an extremely beneficial and free tool for investigation. "People put their whole lives on Facebook," says Davis. "We'll find bios that contradict resumes and patterns of behavior that belie injury and workers’ comp claims. For a growing number of background checks we go to Facebook and find all we need to report back to our clients that the subject is a red flag." Davis adds that individuals on Facebook constantly post public messages and statuses that would compromise their standing at work had a supervisor caught sight of it. "Law firms don’t want to be surprised when they get to court - like a client charged with sex assault who posts sexually suggestive photos or comments, or a client supposedly injured in an auto accident who gets ‘tagged’ in a friend’s photo playing football or skiing," Davis said. Employers that prefer not to act sneakily and find out details about an employee behind their back can instead friend them. If an employee has coworkers as friends on Facebook, they may be less likely to purposefully engage in devious behavior on the website as they may become increasingly aware of the reflection their Facebook practices have on their job.