A new ruling by the Federal Trade Commission casts a doubt over just how lucky the number seven really is as companies such as Social Intelligence Corporation can keep an archive of your social media activities for seven years. The information stored is to be used explicitly for background checks but will be captured/achived even if you have deleted it from your account(s).
The number seven, aside from that astonishingly-acted, yet creepy-as-hell movie of the same name, has been linked with luck. Geez, they even sang about it Scholastic Rock. Ok, I'm showing my age now...
But now, thanks to this ruling, anything and everything you do on any social media network will be archived for potential future use by folks like potential employers or credit companies.
Now truth be told, there are limits to what a future employer can do with the information provided by companies like Social Intelligence Corporation. They must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act by informing candidates/credit applicants, etc. that they are performing a background check, must obtain their permission before doing so, and must tell the applicant about any damaging information they come across.
As to what exactly Social Intelligence Corporation looks for in a background check, the CEO of the company Max Drucker said they look for four types of content:
- Racially insensitive remarks
- Sexually explicit materials
- Flagrant displays of weaponry
- Other demonstrations of clearly illegal activity
According to Drucker, 5 to 10% of background checks flag at least one thing from the aforementioned types of content with the most common offending content coming in the form of sexually explicit pictures. He also said the offenders are more often younger, white-collar employees.
On the bright side, Social Intelligence Corporation can only see content you have made public, meaning if your Facebook page is only open to friends, they can't and won't see it.
And as for Twitter, they only review "recent" Tweets, whatever that means.
Of course there is the issue where someone else posts something of you, say a picture of you waving an Uzi around and tags you in that photo, well then you'll have a problem.
Here's an example of a report which Social Intelligence Corporation sent to a client. The person in question was flagged for their Oxycontin affection, shall we say, and for apparent support for legalizing marijuana.
The moral in ALL of this... ?
Well, one word: THINK. As in "think before you post, tweet, blog, share," YouTube, Flickr and on and on... Before you hit enter, think. "Is this something I really want the world to see and/or read?"
Or... just do whatever the hell you want and keep everything private... everything.