Social Media Screening has not been part of a traditional background check. This was due to compliance requirements of laws such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), among other laws as well. Fortunately, companies can now obtain compliant social media screening from a select number of reliable background screening companies that are also CRAs (consumer reporting agencies) to help ensure compliance with the FCRA, as well as other regulations.

In today’s digital world, not only do consumer opinions spread quickly through social media, but the negative social media activity of employees, franchisees, apartment residents, students, volunteers, country club and other organizational members, can be directly associated with your company, organization or brand. Because of this new reality, employers and other organizations would be remiss to not consider a candidate’s social media and public online activity – insights that are not captured through a customary background check.

A social media background check should scour an individual’s online activity for behaviors that could put companies, organizations and brands at risk, by identifying and flagging the following:

• Hate speech
• Insults and bullying
• Obscene language
• Self-harm
• Threat of violence
• Toxic language
• Drug-related images
• Explicit/racy images
• Violent images

However, ensure your social media background checks are conducted in a compliant manner and redact protected class information, such as race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, etc., as well as being performed by a knowledgeable CRA. This will protect consumer FCRA dispute rights, as well as help safeguard your organization and brand. Companies can receive the insights needed to make better applicant approval decisions, whether it is an employee, volunteer, franchisee, apartment resident or tenant, student, or a country club or other organizational member type.

It is important to note that a company’s internal Human Resources or other Department cannot perform social media checks compliantly, by simply viewing an applicant’s online posts. This is due to their inability to “redact the knowledge” of the individual’s protected class information once they view the online posts, as one or more of these protected classes – race, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, etc. – will undoubtedly be revealed, and place the company at risk for a discrimination lawsuit.

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