Prior to hiring, typically, large companies run background checks on prospective employees to see if they have any criminal record, a history of pulling off bank heists, embezzling money, being highway thugs, and the like. They run searches on Google and LinkedIn.
But now, they’re going a step further. They’re requiring candidates to pass a social media background check.
A year-old start-up, Social Intelligence, scrapes the Internet for everything prospective employees may have said or done online in the past seven years.
Then, it assembles a dossier with examples of professional honors and charitable work, along with negative information that meets specific criteria: online evidence of racist remarks; references to drugs; sexually explicit photos, text messages or videos; flagrant displays of weapons or bombs and clearly identifiable violent activity.
Less than third of that information comes from Facebook and Twitter; the rest, from grubbing social dirt elsewhere on the Internet, in places such as Tumblr, Yahoo! groups, e-commerce platforms, bulletin boards, even Craigslist. Plus, there are photos and videos on Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Picasa, Yfrog.