FTC Weighs In On Social Media Background Checks

Posted by Kristina Taylor
September 6, 2011

FTC Weighs In On Social Media Background Checks

The Federal Trade Commission has now weighed in on the growing issue of social media background checks for employers.

The FTC recently released a statement regarding employers who hire a third party service to do a social media background check, calling such a third party service “a consumer reporting agency because it assembles or evaluates consumer report information that is furnished to third parties that use such information as a factor in establishing a consumer’s eligibility for employment.”

That means those services need to be in compliance with Fair Credit Reporting Agency rules. Employers that do hire out special employment screening services for social background checks should consider the following steps to help ensure they are in compliance:

  1.  Update the notice and authorization documents given to applicants to include social media BEFORE searches are requested.
  2. If an applicant is eliminated as a result of a social media search, send the applicant a pre-adverse action notice along with the report given to the employer by the screening service.
  3. After rejecting an applicant, send a final adverse action notice to them containing the language required by the FCRA.

Note: Employers that opt to use an internal social media background check are not subject to FCRA standards.