Privacy settings on social networking sites are now more important than ever after the Federal Trade Commission approved a company's ability to conduct social media searches for job applicant background information.
Social Intelligence Corp - a subsidiary of Riv Data, a private data company based in Santa Barbara, CA - provides background screenings for companies during the hiring process. With the new rule in place, SIC can store potentially damaging photographs, posts, videos or other information posted on social media sites for up to seven years, according to Yahoo. "We store records for up to seven years as long as those records haven't been disputed," Geoffrey Andrews, Social Intelligence COO, said in an email to Forbes. "If a record is disputed and changed, then we delete the disputed record and store the new record when appropriate." The FTC determined that SICs practices were within the limitations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. However, the company must limit its searches to what's publicly available, and job applicants must acknowledge and approve the use of a social media background screening
, just as they would a criminal and credit background check
, Yahoo adds.