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FTC Okays Social Media Background Check Company 229

Posted by samzenpus
from the coming-back-to-haunt-you dept.
nonprofiteer writes "The FTC has dropped its investigation of a new company that runs social media background checks and ongoing Internet/social media monitoring of employees, determining its compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. So make sure your gun photos are private and that you're not part of any 'Legalize marijuana' Facebook groups."
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FTC Okays Social Media Background Check Company

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  • and it begins (Score:4, Informative)

    by Dyinobal (1427207) on Wednesday June 15, 2011 @05:00PM (#36455178)
    And it begins muahahhahahha. First your boss makes you friend him on face book, now your future boss wants to know everything about you that isn't his business.
    • Here's a great laughable tidbit from TFA: they weren't willing to help a company in Colorado check for if someone was gay not because it's illegal (apparently it's not), but because it would be unethical. I'm sorry, guys, but drop the pretense. You were willing to help another company go on a witch hunt for those whose political beliefs they disagreed with, you have no sense of ethics.

      "I like to think we are providing a service not just by screening for employers, but in helping to protect job applicants by

      • by retchdog (1319261)

        in an indirect way he's right. if they manage to corner the market, they become a magnet for public outcry and possibly lawsuits which is about as good as accountability gets in the US.

        or: a known target is easier to manage than an unknown target.

        i don't think that's what the coo meant, but maybe it was... nowadays reaching a size enough to be "regulated" is probably the best way to achieve security for a company. at least in the short-term.

      • by MoonBuggy (611105)

        "I like to think we are providing a service not just by screening for employers, but in helping to protect job applicants by creating a standard process for online background checks and a service that presents them with reports on negative material." Actual quote from the company's COO. He's either a complete imbecile, or a monster.

        I suppose they do a fairly effective job of flagging companies managed by megalomaniacs and/or morons. If they released their entire client list under the heading "Companies you really, really don't want to work for:", I'd probably cut them some slack.

      • they weren't willing to help a company in Colorado check for if someone was gay not because it's illegal (apparently it's not), but because it would be unethical. I'm sorry, guys, but drop the pretense. You were willing to help another company go on a witch hunt for those whose political beliefs they disagreed with, you have no sense of ethics.

        Although I have no doubt that they have very low standards of ethics - especially as I rather suspect that the only way to see the reports they have on you, like a cr

        • I think any company that aggregates information about individuals should be required, upon request, to give that person a copy of said information.

          I have checked into my own "background" with online "background check" companies, only to find that the information -- the public information, that is, not the stuff they charge for -- is wildly inaccurate. Which is inexcusable, really, considering that my real name is not exactly common. There was some accurate information, but it was years out of date, and i
          • In the case of this particular company, it would seem that they would gladly answer your request to provide a copy of information by giving you a link to your Facebook page.

    • by cultiv8 (1660093) on Wednesday June 15, 2011 @07:33PM (#36456996) Homepage
      You're absolutely [filtered], I couldn't [filtered] more with your statement. It reminds me of the other day when I [redacted, don't want nobody to know this], which goes to prove [filtered] and [filtered] about my boss and the company for which I work. He may be a [filtered] but he always [filtered] and [filtered] and even [filtered] when [filtered] enters the room and says [filtered].

      Good god is this what my online conversations are going to become in the name of preserving and protecting my job?
  • by MrEricSir (398214) on Wednesday June 15, 2011 @05:02PM (#36455194) Homepage

    Now I'm going to join every offensive group on Facebook that I can just so I know who's spying on me.

  • Why guns? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Wednesday June 15, 2011 @05:02PM (#36455204) Homepage Journal
    Why would you need to 'hide' your gun photos?

    There's nothing illegal about owning and being proud of guns (at least in the US)...so I don't get this comment on the article.

    It isn't like being a gun owner would prevent anyone from getting a job or anything...never heard of that one.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There's nothing illegal about supporting the legalization of pot.

      Or supporting the other political party than your boss does.

      Or being gay. Or black. Or having gay or black friends.

      Or not turning your back and shunning old friends just because they may be leading a sketchy life.

      Or having a medical condition which might prove costly to the companies insurance plan.

      Or being a hunter. Or being a vegan.

      All of which are reasons you will lose you your job thanks to this service. (Of course, they wouldn't openl

      • by Applekid (993327)

        From TFA (yeah, I guess I'm a square because I checked it out):

        ...as long as it complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act to ensure that its clients let job applicants know when something that turned up in a background check had an adverse effect on their getting employed, or rather not getting employed.

        So if they reported to your potential employer that you love cake and that caused your employer to think you'd grab more than one slice during employee functions that contain cake and therefore could not possibly be hired, they will be required to tell you that your cave love is what did you in.

        Then I suppose it's up to you and your local Equal Opportunity Office to determine if the employer broke the law, whether those who love cave are a prot

      • Re:Why guns? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gnick (1211984) on Wednesday June 15, 2011 @05:26PM (#36455506) Homepage

        All of which are reasons you will lose you your job thanks to this service. (Of course, they wouldn't openly fire you for being gay, but clever HR knows how to tapdance).

        No tap dancing necessary depending on the state. TFA specifically points out that Colorado does not prohibit selective employment based on sexual orientation. Just because what you're doing is legal doesn't necessarily mean that your activities in your private life can't legally be used to refuse you employment or fire you. That doesn't necessarily make it right, it just makes it legal.

        • I suspect that any such law is effectively illegal under the 14th Amendment (many states have laws on the books which are not constitutional - you don't find out unless and until you challenge it).

          • by Pharmboy (216950)

            The 14th Amendment covers actions by the State, not by the individual. It is very specific about this, and mentions "the State" many times as a qualifier. As an individual, you have the right to discriminate all you want. As an employer, there are other laws that cover this, but not the Constitution itself. The whole purpose of the Constitution is to limit the power the Government, not the people.

      • by TheABomb (180342)

        and that's sad, and will lead to future generations of stressed out slaves, all under the eye of the bossman 24/7.

        To have the job security (or in this economy, prospects) of a slave! Wouldn't that be the life?

    • by contrapunctus (907549) on Wednesday June 15, 2011 @05:12PM (#36455354)

      Why would you need to 'hide' your gun photos?

      i know right? i spent a lot of hours in the gym on those guns.

    • Why would you need to 'hide' your gun photos?

      There's nothing illegal about owning and being proud of guns (at least in the US)...so I don't get this comment on the article.

      It isn't like being a gun owner would prevent anyone from getting a job or anything...never heard of that one.

      A better question would be why would anybody give open access to their photos on something like FB instead of only granting access to their "friends?" It is amazing how much personal stuff people put out in the open on the internet. As an employer I would be more concerned about people's overall lack of discretion than the actual content of most social networking postings. Lack of discretion relates to ones judgment and could be indicative of one's job performance.

    • by blincoln (592401)

      "There's nothing illegal about owning and being proud of guns (at least in the US)...so I don't get this comment on the article."

      You are joking, right? And it just went over my head?

      There are plenty of people in the US who hate guns to the point that if they saw a photo of a job applicant online with one or more firearms, they would discount them immediately, just like there are plenty of people in the US who would discount an applicant immediately if they saw a photo online revealing that underneath the lo

    • Why would you need to 'hide' your gun photos?

      Cursory googling reveals a Wisconsin teacher suspended from her job because of a facebook picture of herself aiming a rifle:

      http://www.wkow.com/global/story.asp?s=9801650 [wkow.com]

    • by chiph (523845)

      I know someone who was fired for being a gun owner. All it took was someone saying "I feel threatened by him" and security walked him out.

      Wrong? Damn straight. But there's no recourse.

  • No (Score:4, Insightful)

    by creat3d (1489345) on Wednesday June 15, 2011 @05:03PM (#36455212) Homepage
    How about making sure you don't work for someone that'll fire you for being part of a legalize marijuana FB group?
    • by Hatta (162192)

      When real unemployment rates are over 15%, and forclosure rates are the highest in recorded history, how picky can you be about your employer?

      • by MrEricSir (398214)

        Yeah, who cares about personal freedom? It's totally worth selling your soul to get a job.

        • by Hatta (162192)

          I'm on your side here. I think it's appaling that one has to choose between speaking their mind in public and potentially endangering their economic welfare. But such is the world in which we live.

          If you really want people to be free to speak their minds, we need not only the political freedom to do so, but the economic freedom to do so. I don't think this can be accomplished under Capitalism. As long as there is economic inequality there will be political inequality as well.

          • by yuhong (1378501)

            It is possible. For example, there are already more than one employer who allow employees to criticize their products.

        • by rjhubs (929158)
          I would never work for a company that would discriminate based on what I choose to do outside of work hours. However, I am able to realize that not everyone is in as good a position as I am and that my current lifestyle is not just a product of my hard work but also some fortunate circumstance. So I would hate for anyone who needs to get a job to feed their family to be discriminated against based on their outside of work activities. Why should they have less personal freedom than I?

          The point GP was mak
      • by Tumbleweed (3706) *

        This is the kind of environment in which rights erode quickly, right in public view. 9/11, the economy, etc. See also: The "Patriot" Act, Wisconsin union-busting, etc.

        • by Hatta (162192)

          Indeed. Economic depression played no small part in Hitler's rise to power. I don't expect the end of American hegemony to be any prettier.

    • by drpimp (900837)
      No shit, I couldn't agree with you more. Not to mention I know MANY people that support it (albeit maybe not on FB group), that don't smoke or never have, but aren't necessarily against it. Isn't that what drug tests are for?
  • by TheCycoONE (913189) on Wednesday June 15, 2011 @05:04PM (#36455224)

    So make sure your gun photos are private and that you're not part of any 'Legalize marijuana' Facebook groups."

    Or the opposite to ensure that you're only hired by people that share your values or won't spy on your social media.

  • by odin84gk (1162545) on Wednesday June 15, 2011 @05:13PM (#36455368)

    I will not work for a company that wants to bring their home drama to work with them. Simple as that.

    • by Jiro (131519)

      Well, if you don't want to work for them, the company is glad to oblige and not let you.

      People take jobs because they need to eat and pay the rent. As such, "I don't want to work for them" may be irrelevant if you want starving and going homeless even less.

    • by yuhong (1378501)

      It reminds me of those who boycott companies because their CEO has a political opinion they disagree with.

    • by houghi (78078)

      I will not join an online community that forces me to use my real name. Simple as that.

      Funny thing is that if they search for my real name, I am apparently a marathon runner.

      Luckily I was early aware about the risks of having whatever you do out in public for always and ever and have tried to avoid it as much as possible.

  • What is wrong with legalization of marijuana? That is a political opinion. In fact, the Kato institute supports legalization. See http://www.cato.org/drug-war [cato.org]
  • by romanval (556418) on Wednesday June 15, 2011 @05:21PM (#36455458)
    since they lost 6 million users [telegraph.co.uk] in the last month alone.

    People are starting to realize that too much information can be a bad thing. (Aside from how many times you need to hear some long lost classmate bitching about their job or kids).
    • Now that HR [hrwebadvisor.com] is asking for the user/password to Facebook accounts from perspective job hunters, I can see how that might be a problem.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Anyone with a brain saw this coming long before now.

    Whether it is legal or not is beside the point. If you use Facebook
    you are providing info about yourself to a very large number of
    people you don't know, and ( here is a clue for you ) not all of these
    people will act in a friendly manner toward you.

    There's no real reason to use Facebook, and the smartest people I know
    already know this. If you want to keep up with your friends ( no you don't
    have 800 friends ) you use email and the phone. If you want to disse

    • by MrEricSir (398214)

      Some of us actually have friends though, so your solution won't work for us.

      • by Obfuscant (592200) on Wednesday June 15, 2011 @06:47PM (#36456370)

        Some of us actually have friends though, so your solution won't work for us.

        Quite astute of you, sir. It was nearly impossible for anyone to have any friends before Facebook was created, and likewise nearly impossible to keep in touch with any of them prior to Mr. Zuckerberg's fine accomplishemt.

        And now that Facebook has been created, all previous forms of communications that any of the very very few people who DID have friends have been disabled, effectively preventing anyone who is not on Facebook from having any friends at all.

        • by MrEricSir (398214)

          Nope, that's not what I'm saying at all. I'm saying if you have friends, you don't want to be "that guy" who shits on everything (whether it be Facebook or whatever) because if you pull that shit, pretty soon you won't have any friends.

          • by Obfuscant (592200)

            Nope, that's not what I'm saying at all. I'm saying if you have friends, you don't want to be "that guy" who shits on everything (whether it be Facebook or whatever) because if you pull that shit, pretty soon you won't have any friends.

            I went back to reread the comment you replied to where you said "that wouldn't work", and I find absolutely nothing about shitting on facebook. I see a suggestion that you avoid facebook and use email or put up your own web page. That is what I assumed you were saying wouldn't work for you because you actually have friends.

            Do you really imagine that any friends you might have would abandon you if you were to withdraw from Facebook, or better, never join it? I don' t mean all those people who send friend r

  • This reminds me I posted an old comment months ago on some of the common HR problems:
    http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2082332&cid=35811494 [slashdot.org]

  • I always register my accounts in my Boss's name. Apparently he is into some pretty weird stuff...

  • It seems like it would only be fair to collect the names, phone numbers, addressess, friend lists, family info, credit information, and general background info along with as much dirt as possible on all of the employees of Social Intelligence Corporation, starting with managerial/executive level ones. Place a few ads offering to sell said information to anyone who wants it, particularly targeting those who believe they were fired or weren't hired as a result of this SICk company's 'service', et voilà:

The biggest mistake you can make is to believe that you are working for someone else.

Working...