Social Media Never Forgets

Published On September 1, 2015 | By Tom Huskerson | Now You Know

Photo by Stuart Miles

Let’s talk about AACR Rule #6; Nothing is ever completely deleted. Nothing! So black people be warned! Social media never forgets and it never throws anything away. Nothing! Whatever you posted online, comments, pictures whatever, years ago or yesterday is still out there. That’s AACR Internet Rule #4.  Its floating in cyberspace waiting to be found and used for, by or against you.

The Ashley Madison data hack is the most recent reminder.  The people who hacked this marriage infidelity website were supposed to delete profiles after customers paid $19. They didn’t. Now that information is on the Internet for all to see. Look here!

It’s impossible, impossible!, to exist in today’s society without some of your personal information ending up online. If you are like many people you can’t go a day without using the Internet to shop, pay a bill, or check your bank or credit card balance or send an email or text. Even if you don’t use the Internet someone you know or do business with does. So your personal data is stored on an Internet connected server somewhere, sliding through wires or flying through the air.

Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance , an industry-funded group that educates consumers about cybersecurity.  Kaiser warns Internet users to think before you hit ‘submit’. Stop and think before giving up your personal information to any kind of website”

Kaiser went on to say that, “Personal information is like money, and you don’t just give away your money. In the environment we’re in right now, you have to value it and think about protecting it everywhere you go on the Internet.”

But there is more to lost information than just financial data. Let’s talk about your online reputation. One of the hottest new areas of human resources is social media research. This has expanded the reach of human resources managers to truly examine the lives of potential job candidates and current employees.

Employers screen job candidates using background checks and employee job references.  But they are also turning more and more to  sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and pretty much all the others. All to get a better picture of who they are hiring or they have working for them. So just because you have the job doesn’t mean you can relax. Some one is always watching

Employers are reluctant to talk about searching online for information about perspective employees because of the potential for discrimination and negligent hiring lawsuits.  But some estimate that the practice of social media screening and background check are as high as 37 percent of employers. But lets be real. People are social networking and job searching online so why would employers not use this tool too check you out? So there is no mistaking what’s happening, social media screening has become a business that serves human resources managers.

According to, one in five hiring managers are conducting social media profile checks. And of course the big one is Facebook because Facebook never forgetsThe worlds largest social media website is also the worlds greatest data collector, including photos, posts, emails, shopping and those famous ‘Likes’ and helluva lot moreFor employers this is the Holy Grail.

What are they looking for? How about information that reveals an applicants character, criminal history, personality, social activities, friends and associations or political affiliations and employment history. Can they use this data in hiring decisions? Their probably not supposed to. But lets be real. They probably do.

According to an article from Employment Technologies Corporation, “Social Networking Sites Become Hiring Managers’ Tool” 35 percent of employers found information about an applicant that eliminated them from consideration. Here is what they found;

  • 41 percent of users posted content about or showing them using drugs and alcohol.
  • Employers found 40 percent of users posted inappropriate pictures and information.
  • 29 percent of users were found to have bad communication skills.
  • 27 percent of applicants lied about skills and abilities.
  • 22 percent had unprofessional screen names.
  • 21 percent  posted information linked to criminal activity.
  • 31 percent found a link between the applicant and the organization.

As you can see the use of social media can really hurt you. Keep in mind that your employer cannot demand you surrender your Facebook or other social media password. That’s against the law. But if you use a computer at work then  you have no expectation of privacy and your employer can see everything you do. Private emails and social media activity included.

As we have said, social media saves everything.  And everything that is connected to the Internet can be hacked. Keep that in mind if you have some really sensitive material or images on your computer or phone. Hackers love smartphones because they are so easy to hack. Hackers steal email addresses, usernames and passwords and any pictures you have stored on your phone. And here is something else you need to understand. Those super sexy picture you sent to your lover and then deleted; well check your sent folder. Its probably still there. And since you sent to him or her its on their device waiting to be mis-used.

College applicants need to be especially alert because colleges are also checking social media sites as well. As many as 47 percent of colleges consider social media screening of applicants to be important.

A 2012 survey of 500 university admissions officers from top colleges found that roughly 26 percent used social networking sites such as Facebook to learn more about applicants. Of that number 27 percent use Google to search applicants by name. Be sure to check out the Kaplan survey. The bottom line is that college’s consider an applicant’s online image vitally important. In 35 percent of cases admissions officers found information that made a negative impression.

On a related note, a UMass Amherst study in 2011 showed that 100 percent of colleges use social media in one form or another, and the Kaplan survey reveals that 87 percent of colleges use Facebook to help them recruit students, and 76 percent use Twitter.

Now you know.

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About The Author

Tom Huskerson Bio Born in Richmond Virginia Tom Huskerson is a military veteran who settled in California after his discharge. He attended Santa Barbara City College where he began his writing career as a campus reporter. He worked as an intern news reporter for the Santa Barbara News-Press writing feature stories before moving on to San Francisco. At San Francisco State University Tom studied broadcast communications and began to focus on the Internet. He completed his graduate thesis on Internet advertising. Tom was the first student to ever focus on the Internet as a graduate student at San Francisco State University. After graduation he went to work for Zona Research in California’s Silicone Valley. As a research associate Tom supported senior analyst writing on the latest developments in the Internet industry. During the dot com boom Tom worked for several web businesses as a market researcher and analyst. As a writer and researcher Tom has authored various technical works including a training program for Charles Schwab security. Other projects included professional presentations on workplace violence and hiring security contractors. Tom has returned to focus on writing both fiction and non-fiction works and blogging for a travel website. He has published two books of short stories and completed two novels. Tom is the owner of Scribe of Life Literature and EbonyCandle. Most recently Tom has launched the blog African American Cyber Report. The blog is the result of his desire to inform the African American community of the dangers and benefits of the cyber age. In his blog Tom reports on information security, new and analysis, scams and hoaxes, legal happenings and various topics that arise from the age of information. Tom believes that technology is a necessary tool for black people and they should know what is happening. Tom writes believing that techno speak is for the professional and that valuable information can be communicated using plain language. As a result he has embraced the motto, Less Tech, More Knowledge.

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