ALERT: Job Screening Agency Archiving All Facebook [UPDATED]

If you’re still not using any of the privacy settings on Facebook, here’s the most compelling reason why you need to change that as soon as possible.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has given the thumbs up to Social Intelligence Corp, which keeps files of Facebook users’ posts as part of a background-checking service for screening job applicants.

A spokesperson for Social Intelligence has clarified in an email:

Data is archived purely for compliance reasons and not used for any other purposes. This is to provide a verifiable chain-of-custody in case the information is ever needed for legal reasons. Archived data is never used for new screens.

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

We are not building a database on individuals that will be evaluated each time they apply for a job and potentially could be used adversely even if they have cleaned up their profiles. It is important for job applicants to understand we are not storing their historical information to be used against them the next time they apply for a job.

The FTC decided Social Intelligence complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, according to Forbes.

Even if you delete an embarrassing photo or bawdy status update, the material could stay in your file for seven years, during which time it might be used against you if a prospective employer were to use the agency’s services to screen applicants.

This ups the ante on prospective employers simply Googling you or even looking for you on Facebook and other sites — by now, many job hunters know enough to clean up their profiles when looking for work. Social Intelligence would have the goods on you before you cleaned up your online act, dating back seven years.

We can only suspect that if Social Intelligence has the go-ahead to operate in this capacity, other start-ups might follow. That’s all the more reason to err on the safe side and use Facebook’s privacy settings to their fullest.

Readers, does learning about services like Social Intelligence make you want to recheck your security settings or start using them if you haven’t done so already?

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