Now You Could Lose a Job Because of Something You 'Liked' on Facebook

lose a job By now, everyone knows that it's unwise to post on Facebook those scantily clad photos of yourself doing tequila shots, because a potential employer might see it and get the wrong (or right) idea. Google searches have become almost standard operating procedure for most employers looking to fill positions, and the self-posted, photographic proof that you walk on the wild side does not reflect well on your sense of responsibility.

But now there's a vetting company that really gets into the deep, dark details of your digital life, even researching what you "like" on your Facebook page, which could inadvertently show you in an unflattering light.

Let's say you hit the "Like" button on the comment: "I shouldn't have to press 1 for English. We are in the United States. Learn the language." The background check company Social Intelligence could label you as "racist," according to Forbes tech blogger Kashmir Hill.

And Social Intelligence will keep their findings on you in a file for seven years, although they will do new searches on you each time a potential employer requests it. So unless you remove those questionable photos and comments from as many as seven years ago -- before most social networking sites existed and employers even dreamed of using them to vet potential employees -- you could be ruined.

And it's not only Facebook that you need to worry about. Social Intelligence searches everything you've said or posted to Twitter, Flickr, MySpace, the internet in general -- even some of your comments on articles and blogs. That negative Tweet two years ago about the color of someone's shoes? Who knows how that will be taken?

Now, lest you think that this potential privacy invasion is illegal, know that the FTC just determined that Social Intelligence Corp. is in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. At least for now, the government seems to allow this profiling, which some might consider invasive, to continue.

But this state of affairs puts us all in a frustrating position. If you go off the radar and decide to drastically reduce your online presence, potential employers might think you're not tech or socially savvy, and certainly out of touch with current trends in information sharing and gathering. On the other hand, if you really put yourself out there, one seemingly innocent tweet could cost you a job.

Your only hope might be that future bosses are forgiving -- or that they don't conduct such extensive background checks.

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Alexis Stillabower

hmmmmm nice

May 11 2012 at 11:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Audrey Adams

Going 'off the radar' completely is too drastic in my opinion. What is needed is better education on the very public and permanent nature of social networking sites, and the possible consequences associated with this nature. You hear horror stories all the time about people losing their jobs over seemingly innocent Facebook posts or tweets, but the truth is, all of those scenarios could have been avoided had these users possessed a deeper understanding of how what they say online can be used against them. If anyone's interested, this interview with Attorney Gloria Allred touches on some of these stories and explains how everyone can better protect their online reputation:

July 11 2011 at 6:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It is hard to understand how so many have jumped on the Facebook bandwagon. And even harder to understand how a "like" in Facebook becomes something reinterpreted by an organization that then labels your viewpoint according to what they believe you mean and allows companies to access this secret information about you without your knowledge or any way to protect yourself. Talk about Orwellian.

July 08 2011 at 9:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Matt Moyles

To any future employers that dig up this comment via Social Intelligence. Kiss my ass... I don't want to work for your company if you care this much about my social life.

June 30 2011 at 4:33 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
James Savik

I wouldn't want to work for any company that had a stick that far up their ass.

June 30 2011 at 1:28 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

Will someone, ANYONE, please explain to me the importance of Facebook! Or Twitter, or any other supposed Social Networking Site. Until just the last few years, these entities had absolutely NO relavence in the lives of anyone and for some reason the American people have become so bored with their "normal" lives apart from the damned computer, that they have to SOCIALIZE with others thru a flat screen. I do not understand and at my age, having seen what I've seen and lived what I've lived, there is nobody on this planet that can give me one reason why, as a society, we've begun to do our SOCIALIZING with a machine, rather than face to face. Makes me very glad that I'm old and out of the "mainstream" of social media, I prefer spending time with real people rather than being offended by something that some dimwitted diphead posted on twitter or facebook.

June 30 2011 at 6:02 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to markletucky1990's comment
Shawn S. Lealos

When I was a little kid there were no home computers. Asking the importance of social networking sites is like asking the importance of reading this article instead of a newspaper, in my opinion. Before Facebook, there are relatives I had not spoken to in over a decade, so it does have its advantages.

July 02 2011 at 2:03 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

You know it's not all about just socializing with the people we know and see everyday. It is also about keeping in touch with the people that we love that are maybe 2 or 3 thousand miles away. What about the men and women that are fighting for our country, is it a bad thing to be able to keep in touch with the loved ones back home? I agree with you in a sense that people go to far with it, but in the same aspect, I believe that facebook is an amazing tool for keeping in touch.

November 17 2011 at 8:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

facebook can and will get you fired beware if your puttiing nasty stuff or cheat via f u k book you deserve what you get

June 30 2011 at 5:21 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU. Has anyone read 1984? It's getting worse than Hitler's Germany.

June 30 2011 at 4:38 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply


June 30 2011 at 3:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


June 30 2011 at 3:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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