It is somewhat astonishing that social media has only been around for barely a generation.  Yet today worldwide, there are nearly two billion users on Facebook alone.  A recent study by a respected, national market research company found that 72% of adult Americans use at least one social media platform.  With the widespread usage of social media today, the public personas of individuals on these platforms are now available for the world to know, which can have a negative impact on your company’s brand.

When making a decision to select a candidate to join your company or organization – whether as an employee, volunteer, resident or tenant, franchisee or as a member – a background check that does not include a social media check can place your company and its brand at significant risk.  Performing social media checks, when done properly can be obtained in a compliant manner, not only with the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) and the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) guidelines, but also with other government regulations.

Because social media posts can divulge information regarding an individual’s protected class status, i.e., race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, health issues and disabilities, etc., it is not advisable for your organization to perform these searches, as it could lead to discrimination lawsuits.  Further, the time and effort needed to research the myriad of social media platforms, makes this task better suited for automation.

Today with Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), social media background checks can be performed efficiently and compliantly, removing data that would reveal protected class status.  Further, A.I. can target the undesirable behavioral characteristics, from which your company or organization wants to be disassociated.  Traits such as hate speech, bullying, obscenities, violence, illegal activities, and more, can be filtered to help determine if your candidate will be suitable as an addition for your team (of course when combined with the other components of a background check – criminal history, credentials verification, drug screening, etc.).

When incorporating social media checks into your background check program, be sure to always seek a reliable background screening company that is also a consumer reporting agency (CRA).  A CRA understands its responsibilities under the FCRA, including honoring the dispute rights of the individuals being background checked.

Posted by: Rudy Troisi, L.P.I., President and CEO, Reliable Background Screening

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