Your social networks could jeopardize your next interview

Social Intelligence is conducting social network background checks that could make or break your next job interview

By Tony Bradley, PC World |  IT Management, Facebook, Social Networking

Your social networks are fair game. The Federal Trade Commission has given a startup called Social Intelligence the green light to conduct background checks on you based on your social network activity under the guidelines of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Think twice about posting that embarrassing photo on Facebook, and watch what you tweet, because it may make the difference in your next job or college admissions interview.

Companies and colleges know that you have an online persona, and they are going to try to learn about the real you by investigating that online persona before making hiring or admissions decisions. Organizations are already digging in to your social networks, but they may cross ethical boundaries, and they may uncover damning information they weren't even looking for. If you think that the service offered by Social Intelligence seems invasive, or that the company is crossing the line in stalking your online antics, consider the alternative.

A service like that offered by Social Intelligence is a win-win. For organizations, it relieves the burden by letting them contract with experts who know where to look and how to gather data from social networks. For individuals, it ensures that those searches are conducted within legal boundaries that prevent discrimination.

Social Intelligence doesn't simply dig up all the dirt it can find on you and turn it over to the customer--it operates within a fairly narrow scope. I spoke with Social Intelligence co-founder and CEO Max Drucker who explained that Social Intelligence researches the social network activity of an individual through the lens of designated red flags that customers specify--things like illicit drug use, racism, or illegal activity. Only social network activity directly related to those red flags is reported to the customer.

Some media reports have demonized Social Intelligence as the bad guy. Reports that the company is maintaining a sort of social network 'permanent record' where your online misdeeds could linger and follow you around for seven years like a missed car payment on your credit report are misleading. It is true that Social Intelligence will archive data for seven years, but that is a paper trail requirement of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the archived information will not be used or have any impact on subsequent reports.

Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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