A Job Screening Agency called ‘Social Intelligence’ has just been given permission by the Federal Trade Commission to archive and store all our posts on Facebook. This data will be used for background-screening when we apply for jobs.
News Flash: You signed up for the fishbowl universe the moment you hit the ‘Sign Up’ button on Facebook and anything you post can and will be held against you. So, really, if you haven’t changed your privacy settings by now, I suggest you do so immediately because things certainly look like their bound to get worse.
Those bawdy jokes you shared with your college buddy, that slightly irreverent photo you shared on your Facebook wall – they might just come back to haunt you. There might come a day when you can’t keep your job because of that ‘yo mama’ joke you posted way back when you were a fresh graduate.
Of course, Social Intelligence maintains that they’re only archiving data for “compliance reasons” and not for any other purposes. They only wish to provide “a verifiable chain-of-custody in case the information is ever needed for legal reasons.” Social Intelligence says that they won’t be using the data for new screens. They stressed that the data they store won’t be used each time a person applies for a job, so there’s not much cause for worry.
Also, they’re only going to be archiving data that can be legally shared for use in the job hiring process. Meaning that the only things that will come back to bite you will be racist remarks, evidence of drug use, and sexually explicit media. So if you’re clean, then there’s really not much of an issue.
The problem is, how many of us have committed a social networking faux pas at one point in our lives? It’s pretty disconcerting to know that you have to watch your step each time you post something on the net. Anything you post, even if you do delete it afterwards, will be stored in your file for seven years. Besides, there’s the risk that your posts may be taken out of context or perhaps even misunderstood. If any of your potential employers decide to tap this resource, then they may just come up with something you would never have expected. With seven years of archived data just waiting to be dug up, it’s certainly would not be surprising if they did find something incriminating.
Your only defense against such ruthless scrutiny is to set your privacy settings to the maximum. If you do need to share something controversial, then do so where there are no prying eyes. Social Intelligence certainly won’t be the last of its kind and it would really behoove us users to protect ourselves as best as we can.
If you need more information on how to navigate Facebook’s privacy settings, then check out our complete guide: