Big Brother is watching you online: Employers are running social-media searches on job applicants

Marketwatch has an interesting article worth reading here ( Below is a snippet)

The next time you apply for a job, don’t be surprised if you have to agree to a social-media background check. Many U.S. companies and recruiters are now looking at your Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and other accounts and blogs — even YouTube — to paint a clearer picture of who you are.. And now the Federal Trade Commission has decided that companies that research how you spend your personal time and what your passions and hobbies are do not violate your privacy..

Drucker said he only searches for what the companies direct him to find and stays away from giving employers information that might be considered discriminatory to the hiring process. Employers, for example, cannot legally make hiring decisions based on race, religion, marital status or disability. But they can make decisions based on whether or not they like your attitude or your ethics.

A Social Intelligence report to a company would include racist remarks, sexually explicit photos or videos, or flagrant displays of weapons or illegal activity, Drucker said. And your decision to post a naked picture of yourself might not go over well with a potential employer.

“That might not be relevant to the job, but an employer gets to determine if that’s the kind of person he wants representing his company,” Drucker said.”We don’t make the decisions. We just generate the reports.”

He said he has been surprised by how many racist comments and flagrant displays of drug use people post online. “It’s not just smoking marijuana. It’s snorting cocaine, talking about doing Ecstasy on Twitter or a forum or message board, showing it in photos or video-sharing sites,” he said.

Some companies are mining photo- and video-gathering sites using facial-recognition software. If you were among those rioting in the streets of Vancouver after the National Hockey League championship, for example, a potential boss could find you the same way the police tracked down those responsible for some of the bedlam — in the pictures.

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