There is a lot of information that appears in his public record to give an official account of his identity and history, but social media adds a new piece to an already complex puzzle. If you are unsure whether background checks of your social media history provide relevant information for employers, property owners, or other authorities, today’s guide is for you.
However, what are the chances that these social media posts will come back to haunt you? Are employers really interested in something you posted on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook ten years ago when you were a student? In other words, is background checking relevant on social media?
That is a tough question to answer, but in this article, we will address some of the key issues surrounding it. We will also give you some tips on how to keep your social media screening check clean, as well as how to check exactly what a social media background check might reveal about you.
Can it hurt your social media history?
Given the ubiquity of social media these days, it would be easy for people to assume that anything they post on sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram is quickly lost to the ether and will no longer haunt them.
Once you post something on the internet, it will always be there for someone to find. Even if you quickly delete an article, archive services like Way Back Machine have probably already preserved it for posterity. There are many examples of people who failed to find a job or who were fired from a job as a direct result of the posts they made on social media. These examples are just the tip of the iceberg, but they remind us how much a careless or harmless social media post can cost you a job or more. Social media may be ubiquitous these days, but that does not mean what you post on it matters any less.
What is a background check?
A background check is an online service that searches all publicly available data about you to compile a comprehensive report about you and your story. There is an overwhelming amount of publicly available data about each of us. In the pre-digital era, these documents were difficult to access and searching for them took time. Now they are all accessible online, and modern algorithms allow background check sites to search hundreds of thousands of records in seconds.
What types of checks can they search for on social media?
All of this data comes from government-controlled databases that the public has the right to access. However, we build another great data source ourselves. It can include images, detailed personal information and much more. Of course, we are talking about social media accounts and profiles.
What social media posts will a background search find?
Most public and consumer background check sites will identify any social media account linked to a person and include it in their reports. This list will include all the accounts a person is currently using and any accounts on a service like My Space that might still be online even if the person has not used it for years.
The truth is, most background check sites will not look any further than that. They may include social media account details in their final report, but most will not look for individual posts. That has not to say that bosses or HR staff will not take a look at these accounts to get a sense of the kind of person you are. Nevertheless, if they do, they will probably only come back to your account for a few weeks and whatever before it goes hidden.
There are specialized social media background check sites that will search all your previous posts for relevant or controversial content and highlight it to a potential employer. These types of searches are typically done by certain companies and for certain roles, but if used will be quite comprehensive. Just keep in mind that inadvertent posts will have nowhere to hide, even if they were posted years ago to a long-forgotten account.