Is Social Intelligence Corp Monitoring Your Social Network Status and Reporting to Prospective Employers?
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Last month Social Intelligence Corp. received official approval from the Feds to monitor and search your social network status updates and other information that is publicly searchable online. So just what is Social Intelligence doing with the results of their social network search? They are providing them to the people who pay Social Intelligence Corp. for those results: prospective employers. Anything you say or post online in a public forum can and will be used against you, including remarks that can be construed as racist, photos that can be considered explicit, or anything that can be taken as evidence of illegal activity such as drug use, to name a few.

Employers then receive a report on the applicant that includes: “full name, email address, and permanent address, as well as employer information and a time-stamp history, screen shots of offensive material, and comments provided by the Social Intelligence team concerning findings.”


Suddenly the drunk posting of a status update on Facebook from years ago can come back to haunt you and cost you that job that you really want.

Explains Social Intelligence Corp, “Social Intelligence Corp solely generates reports based on employer pre-defined criteria, both positive and negative. Negative examples include racist remarks or activities, sexually explicit photos or videos, and illegal activity such as drug use. Positive examples include charitable or volunteer efforts, participation in industry blogs, and external recognition.”

In a sample provided to Forbes, Social Intelligence identified the sample candidate as “Demonstrating potentially violent behavior” owing to a “flagrant display of weapons or bombs.”

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In another example, the candidate was identified as having “racist tendencies” for having “Liked” the Facebook group I Shouldn’t Have to Press 1 for English.

Yet another was flagged as a possible drug user due to the fact that they had posted on Craigslist looking for OxyContin, and were involved with a campaign to legalize marijuana.

The company claims that while the dirt they dig up on you will be stored for up to 7 years, new prospective employers won’t have access to information from prior searches, and that incriminating material will be removed from the files if the candidate removes that material from a publicly-accessible part of the Internet.

 

However they also say, in their FAQ, that “As per our policies and obligations under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, we only store information on job applicants that have met employer defined criteria that is legally allowable in the hiring process. Examples of this include racist remarks, sexually explicit photos or videos, or illegal activity such as drug use. This is in order to maintain a verifiable chain-of-custody in case the information is ever needed for legal reasons.”

In other words, they do keep it on file, but they (claim they) won’t provide it to subsequent prospective employers unless it is turned up in a new search initiated for that new prospective employer.

Uh huh. We’re sure that will be fail-safe. (Not – if only because, as you’ll see below, real live people review any negative findings before the report is prepared for the employer, and real live people can be influenced by prior findings on a candidate, even if they don’t share them with the employer.)

Says Social Intelligence COO Geoff Andrews, “We are not however building a ‘database’ on individuals that will be evaluated each time they apply for a job and potentially could be used adversely even if they have cleaned up their profiles.”

Their FAQ goes on to say that “Every job applicant goes through a manual review process, and when objectionable material is found, an additional two human beings review the findings. This allows us to validate the information provided by an applicant as we use their name, address, email, previous and current employer, and education to confirm that our consumer report matches the subject we are researching. ”

Somehow, we’re not sure that we find that comforting.

We’ve been saying for years that you should be very careful about what you put online, because you never know where it will end up.

We hate to be vindicated like this, but we did tell you so.

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6 thoughts on “Is Social Intelligence Corp Monitoring Your Social Network Status and Reporting to Prospective Employers?
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  1. So it’ll be used against prospective employees to see if there’s “that one time” that will supposedly disqualify them from whatever position they applied for, but it OF COURSE won’t be used against those who already have the job to make sure they’re maintaining “good conduct”? I’m sure Social Intel. Corp. and the Feds are going to monitor the people who apply for positions within those organizations AND make sure the people who already have jobs there maintain these SUCH high standards!

    So, employers are suddenly going to become like 24-hour news where everything get dissected, psychoanalyzed, explicated, and torn to shreds even though “everything” likely means nothing in the grand scheme of things?

    I’ve seriously given thought to deleting my Facebook several times just to avoid the hassle, but it always comes back to the fact that some people I want to keep in touch with, I keep in touch with mainly on Facebook. I’m probably going to be prying for a lot of emails, phone numbers, mailing addresses (yes, some people do still like sending letters through the mail even if they don’t do it very often), and whatever else I can get my hands on that won’t be so easily tracked (relatively speaking, OF COURSE) in the very near future.

  2. So….

    1) If they make a “mistake”, how do you get it fixed? (How could you even find out about the mistake, or prove it?)

    2) And who do you sue, them or the prospective employer? And for how much? And is it slander, or libel, or defamation of character? (This question depends on whether a report is printed or not, and whether someone sees the report publicly (even accidentally), and what one of their employees might accidentally SAY, as opposed to commit to real or electronic ink….)

    3) Do they carry some kind of mandatory insurance? They should!

    4) In Canada, we have a Privacy Commissioner. A “star chamber” type outfit, but very useful, and so far, this office has been well run. One wonders: Are they breaking OUR laws? ie: I apply to work at X-mart, a US Co., expanding into Canada. X-mart has them look me up… Hummm? But what if I was a US Citizen, living in Canada? Oy Vay!

    5) And if Bob, posts something about me on Facebook or Twitter…. And they use it, how would I ever find out? (I do nothing on either site! And suing Bob, well, he has no deep pockets….)

    6) Even more fun: If you Googled my full name, you would discover there are something like 1,000 people with a similar name. Now, how would they know which “PML” is Me? Who said that? Who did that? Me, or the guy in California? The web might well not say!

    7) I see great risks here. I see a tumultuous future.

    8) Perhaps, we should be logical, and shut down this interweb thingie, before it proves to be our undoing….

    9) Am I being facetious on this last point? Sometimes, I wonder myself!

    10) How well, maybe another meteor strike will solve the “human dinosaurs’s” problems… Again, Am I being facetious?

    11) Of course, we then have problems about that little thing called freedom of speech… (Which never has existed, anyway, but that is besides the point.)

    12) And, am I the same person today I was when I was 17? Or 27? Or 37? or 47? or even 50?

    13) Then again, this sort of big brother thing will mean a lot comments on a lot of websites, will not refer to real people. Fake or disposable email addys. And make up identities on those “social networking sites”.

    14) For example… This “Anne” person… Is there any evidence she actually has ever existed? And is what we think we know about her accurate? I read she is an alien super-genius… who came to Earth… and used her good looks… to study us… in a sort of incognito way!

    Any comments there!!!???

  3. looks like one trick that George Orwell missed in 1984 :-)but it fits in perfectly with what else is going on in the ‘Free’ world of today.

  4. I think I’m going to spend a lot of time on your website reading the news you find out. Thanks for the good job.

  5. The most dangerous take-away from the above is what you’ve “liked” not only on Facebook but when you thought you were anonymous but you were, in fact, logged into Yahoo or something else on a permanent basis that you forgot about. You could like a comment, for instance, that the Family Courts need to be cleaned of their anti-male bias. That could get you labeled as a “sexist” or “misogynist”.

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