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Social media background screening has proven to be a highly beneficial tool for many businesses to safeguard their reputations, help identify candidates’ patterns of behavior outside of professional environments and reduce the overall risk of negative activity in the workplace. In researching public profiles on popular sites like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or LinkedIn, social media searches provide insight into how an individual could impact your company by evaluating what they say, share, or post online. Since many states have enacted privacy legislation limiting access to password-protected, private social media activity, searches are limited to publicly viewable data only. However, many social media users disclose a plethora of content open to public access on traditional social media sites, blog posts, and other forums open to online comments. Online media often reveals information that would not be disclosed in a standard background check but highlights organizational risks or “red flags,” such as unlawful or violent activities that could negatively impact your staff, clients, and business, making social media an optimal addition to any pre-employment screening program.  

Although virtually anyone can access public information, social media screening should ideally be facilitated through a professional background screening service provider, like AccuSourceHR™ Workforce Solutions, to avoid potential privacy concerns, discrimination claims, and help mitigate legal risks, including unconscious bias. Unconscious bias may occur when hiring personnel engage in searching a candidate’s social media presence directly and inadvertently view protected class information such as race or religion, which is legally protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Employers who inadvertently or purposely make a hiring decision based on protected class information can be held legally responsible for damages and fines. For example, if a hiring professional does a search of a candidate’s online presence and learns the candidate is pregnant or even planning to have a family soon and then chooses not to hire the individual, the candidate could file suit against the employer for discrimination. Even if the candidate’s familial status was not a true factor in the decision not to hire them, it becomes particularly challenging to discount that this factor, once known, did not play a factor in the hiring decision. A reputable consumer reporting agency (CRA) utilizes both tools to ensure the information reported to employers is taken in the appropriate context and scrubs all data provided to remove any information containing protected class detail.  

Social media screening enables employers to gain more information about a candidate than is revealed in a standard background screening. A candidate may be engaging in nefarious, risk-producing behavior that simply has not resulted in a criminal conviction yet. Further, their online behavior may present other risks to the company’s brand and corporate culture but fall short of criminal behavior. For example, a candidate may be prone to posting negative comments regarding former employers or may show intolerance to specific groups of people based on their sex, race, or religion, which could pose a significant foreseeable threat to healthy working environments. For this reason, an employer should consider adding social media to their scope of searches to thoroughly uncover a candidate’s values and understand their behavior outside of the confines of an interview.  

AccuSourceHR offers quality, FCRA-compliant social media screening services in addition to other background and drug testing product options in over 200 countries and territories worldwide. Our social media screening services feature searches of all major social media platforms, use AI-powered technology and human expertise to identify behavior patterns, and mask or remove protected class details to reduce the legal risk for employers. 

Want to learn more about how social media screening can save time, minimize legal threats, and reduce negative behavior in the workplace? Contact us at for a complimentary program evaluation.