COMMENTARY | While social media background checks are something that privacy advocates will want to take a shot at, what the practice does is hold people accountable for their actions. Companies want to know if an applicant has posted odd videos on the Internet or blog posts that contain racist or unsavory content, and every company deserves a chance to really know who exactly is applying for a job.Obviously, social media background checks cannot be the only tool companies use when deciding who gets a job. If someone over the legal drinking age posts a few pics of them hanging out with a cold beer, what's the big deal? Just like many social network consulting firms have stated, companies are looking for red flags. Those red flags include: references to drugs, inflammatory racist statements, and sexually explicit photos or messages.
The bulk of the argument for the practice is that all the information being gathered is publicly available anyway. However, when a company is making a buck by putting someone's social network life into a dossier, the practice does seem unsavory. However, if the applicant put it out there, they should be ready for the consequencesThe news is filled with stories about folks being fired for Facebook posts or Twitter updates. So the natural question is: Why not check potential employees out prior to giving them a job? Everyone should remember that if you put something online, it's there forever.
People shouldn't be judged by what they do away from work. Then again, what impact does a credit report play in the hiring process? The social media background check is just a natural extension of the technology in regular use by millions of people.Folks need to figure out privacy settings and pay attention to who they are friending or who is following them. The bottom line is pretty simple: If you don't want to see it later, don't put it on the Internet.
Jason Gallagher is a former travel professional and long-time Pennsylvania resident. These experiences give him a first-hand look at developing situations in the state and everything included in the travel industry from technology to trends.