Department of Homeland Security Enacts New Social Media Screening Rule


Department of Homeland Security Enacts New Social Media Screening Rule

Looking for the best eatery in your neighborhood? Social media can help.


Wondering who your kids’ friends are? Social media can probably help.


What else are you curious about? Someone’s hobbies, side hustles, or a political bent? Chances are social media can give you a solid glimpse.


But should the government be allowed access to this information? A Department of Homeland Security rule change has some privacy groups asking that question.


Late last year, DHS published a final rule in the federal register that would allow Customs and Border Protection to seek social media information on those entering the United States.


They say it would shed light on “relationships between individuals, entities, threats, and events” and help track “patterns of activity over extended periods of time” to determine if anyone entering the United States has connections to terrorism or other criminal activity.


But privacy groups object, claiming this change would allow the agency to collect information on U.S. citizens, as well. They also believe the change violates protections offered in the Privacy Act.


This rule change is a good illustration of just how challenging social media screening can be. Yes, social networks offer plenty of information. But depending on them for screening can be iffy. In fact, a survey by SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, suggests that more employers are skipping social media screening because they feel it’s too risky.


Are you considering social media screening? Think about this.


Rules matter. Company policy and compliance should always rate high in the hiring process, but especially so when it comes to social media. Some networks, like LinkedIn, may be more suited to the hiring process, but compliance still matters.


More isn’t always better. People are posting more and more personal information on social networks. But that doesn’t necessarily mean all that information should factor into hiring. Remember: relying just on social media for screening can give an incomplete or inaccurate picture. Plus, it can be an easy way to inadvertently discriminate.


Want social media screening that’s FCRA compliant? You’ve come to the right place. At ClearStar, we partner with Social Intelligence, the only social media screening company reviewed by the FTC. Want to know more? Connect with ClearStar today.


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