Social Media Screening: Great Tool but Beware of the Legal Pitfalls

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Dear Valued Clients,


According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), during the hiring process well over 70% of employers are screening candidate’s Social Media accounts. Employers are searching employees’ social media accounts given that even a single inappropriate public post can severely damage not only the reputation of the employee but likewise the hiring company. Social media background screening is a powerful corporate tool that needs to be fully understood both legally and ethically in order to be incorporated into an existing HR workflow.


Almost all of the employers screening social media are doing so using a manual method of operation (a person or team of people scrolling through thousands of posts trying to find the inappropriate ones). Not only is this time-consuming and laborious, unfortunately, it’s also subject to human error in the form of human bias. Employers must be aware of the strict privacy, discrimination, hiring laws, and guidelines in place with respect to social media screening before incorporating the practice in the workplace.


What are the consequences for the employer who while screening for racially insensitive, sexist, obscene, or threatening posts, inadvertently views content concerning a job applicant or employee’s ethnicity, race, age, political affiliation, or sexual orientation? The legal ramifications of making employment-based decisions after having viewed subject matter which falls within constitutionally protected classes could be significant and could result in costly discrimination/bias lawsuits.


There have been many advances in technology in this area that are capable of “reading” and “evaluating” hundreds of posts per minute. Artificial intelligence algorithms built into these technologies flag only the inappropriate posts such as racial, religious, and identity attacks, threats of violence, bullying/trolling, and obscene/sexually explicit materials; while simultaneously ignoring benign ethnicity, race, age, political affiliation, or sexual orientation content. The end result is the elimination of human bias from the social media screening process, resulting in a procedure that is compliant with both the EEOC and FCRA.


It is equally important to remember that individuals make mistakes and when it comes to posting content online, these mistakes can be long-lasting. A media screening process that affords an individual a clean start is a refreshing approach and there are technologies that do just that. For example, after completing the scan, the candidate or employee is notified of the findings and given an opportunity to view the results to check for accuracy prior to the employer viewing the report. The candidate is also given the opportunity to delete, edit, or ignore any or all of the flagged posts. This technology insulates employers and protects individuals from the backlash of an inappropriate post, while simultaneously aiding employers in making a more informed risk assessment during the hiring process.


We have test-driven some of the applications available and one stood out from the pack, LifeBrand. Their application is comprehensive, easy to use, and cost-effective. If you want to check them out go to and you can get a 5% discount upon checkout when you add the code “GuardianA12


Signing up is simple, please follow the instructions below:

Go to the LifeBrand website at

  1. Click on the Business tab.
  2. Click the Sign-Up tab.
  3. Fill in the requested information.
  4. Obtain a monthly quote.

Don’t forget, add the code “GuardianA12” at checkout and receive a 5% discount.