Are We Being Monitored?

4 Nov

In this intoxicating environment of technology, the only thing that is constant is change as the old saying goes. (Nothing endures but change….From Lives of the Philosophers by Diogenes LaertiusIon’s life.) Our every mundane thought may be displayed publicly in a fraction of a second. Even with all of the privacy settings, you can still tell something about the character of someone who uses Facebook, Twitter or Youtube. The flavor or tendencys of a personality may be perceived or observed through the fields that are available on Facebook. This is a double edged sword. It is a great networking tool and social connector, however this June the U.S. Federal Trade Commission decided to give the okay to Social Intelligence Corporation to include a person’s Facebook acccount in its background checks and to provide this information to potential employers. The employer can now gain knowledge on Facebook back to seven years. According to Forbes Magazine, the FTC ruled that the company, Social Intelligence is not violating any rules of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This decision opens another debate on whether we have the freedom of speech or is Big Brother watching? As a member of Facebook, I have seen hundreds of unattractive posts……if these are logged for seven years, they could pose a hindrance to employment, or could they?

Facebook has posted some helpful information at their website regarding this issue. Social Intelligence can only look at certain things. “As per our policies and obligations under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the only information we collect on job applicants is employer defined criteria that is legally allowable in the hiring process. Examples of this include racist remarks, sexually explicit photos or videos, or illegal activity such as drug use.

They are not building a database on individuals that will be evaluated each time you apply for a job. It is important for job applicants to understand that no one is storing their historical information to be used against them the next time they apply for a job. Local authorities however are looking into Facebook accounts for the same types of information. So, if you are like someone in Houston who robbed a bank….do not post, “WIPE MY TEETH WITH HUNDREDS.” as this may be a dead give away. This story can be read at Facebook Posts Put Houston Robbers in Jail.

Modern Day Morals for Professionals

1. Only post videos and pictures that reflect the you that you want others to see.

2. Show yourself in a positive light. Self deprecating is not attractive. When you decide to be positive, you will surprise yourself by how attractive your attitude is. Step back in time and take yourself off of the information highway if needed to refresh your mind and gain perspective.

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