News & Resources

Social media and background screenings commonly cross paths

Sep 25, 2011 Matt Roesly

A new program that seeks to give employers a way to look into a person's social media identity through a background check system has drawn criticism from some lawmakers. Forbes reports that despite the fact that the Federal Trade Commission ended its investigation into background check firm Social Intelligence's practices, Senators Dick Blumenthal and Al Franken recently wrote a letter calling into question whether or not the company had broken the law. In the letter, the lawmakers say that the background screening could hurt applicants by exposing embarrassing information. "The reports that your company prepares for employers contain screenshots of the sources of the information your company compiles," they wrote. "One publicly available report contains pictures of a user’s Facebook profile, LinkedIn profile, blog posts for a previous employer, and personal websites." As more and more people start using internet-enabled devices on a daily basis, more information will be available for background screenings. Those doing the hiring must balance invading people's privacy with performing a thorough vetting process.