FTC Questions FCRA Compliance With Social Media Background Checks

Mon, July 11th, 2011 - 3:18 am - By Gordon Basichis

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A recent FTC blog questions the legitimacy of the social media background checks with regard to Fair Credit Reporting Act compliance.  Thomas Ahearn of the San Francisco Examiner summarizes the FTC concerns with the Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRA’s) reporting an employment candidate’a negative characteristics within their social media networks.

One segment of the article, which reports a section of the FTC report cites the following….”“The FTC staff recently looked at a company selling background reports that include information from social media to see if they were complying with FCRA. Staff’s letter to the company emphasized that when reports include information derived from social media, the same rules apply. For example, companies selling background reports must take reasonable steps to ensure the maximum possible accuracy of what’s reported from social networks and that it relates to the correct person.”

Reasonable steps is always the slippery slope, the murky place in which identities can not always be absolutely confirmed.   A niece of nephew playing Farmville at two in the afternoon might indicate the job applicant is into playing online games during the work hours.   Common names can cause mistaken identity mishaps.   A lover or friend can post questionable remarks on the candidate’s Facebook or other social media.

In all there are any considerations when using social media for background checks. I have written about this subject before. One such article is entitled, “The Mixed Bag of Social Media Employment Screening.”

To read more on this article here is the link to go to RecruitingBlogs.com

Meanwhile, for further information on the FTC Report go to The Fair Credit Reporting Act & Social Media: What Businesses Should Know.


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