Nowadays it is hard to find a person who doesn’t sign in to any social medium at least once a week by using gadgets like a smartphone, tablet, or a computer. The era of social media has blessed our lives by connecting us with an old friend whom we have missed since the lower grades, to know about their personal life, current status, and so on. However, there are some serious threats that need to be concerned as well.
Social media monitoring is the monitoring of social media outlooks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., for gathering information about an organization, individual or brand. Social media monitoring can help to get insights into an organization’s presence on various social media outlets. It can provide valuable information about emerging trends, and can also help to understand consumer/clients opinions about specific topics, brands or products. This allows companies to track what consumers are saying about their brands and actions and react to these conversations and interact with them in real time.
Benefits of Social Media Monitoring
An employee of a company has been terminated for some reason and this individual, who was working in a client-facing project, now reveals all the secrets related to the client publicly in a Facebook page. This is a serious security issue that affects both the company and its client. In such cases, SMM can help to find the issue, analyze it, and mitigate it by reporting it to the relevant authorities. The samples of abuse can be collected and further legal actions can be carried out.
The key benefits of social media monitoring are listed below.
Monitoring the mentions of brands through various social media channels is beneficial for all businesses. The positive or negative mentions of a company or brand can be collected in real time and used to take relevant action. For example, responding to a positive mention by publicizing it or, in the case of a negative mentioned, by resolving it as fast as possible. By using social media monitoring tools, you are able to manage your brand across a number of different platforms. This allows seeing where people are engaging with your brand most and it will help to distribute your resources appropriately.
Social media monitoring allows you to detect several commonly used keywords that can then be used to improve search engine optimization. This helps your organization to always show up on top in search engine results.
Social media monitoring is a very effective customer service tool because it acts as a direct channel to your customers. You can interact with them quickly and efficiently in real time. Companies can improve their products by analyzing the comments and responses of the product through social media.
SMM can be used to monitor people’s reactions to various marketing techniques by keeping up to date with the latest online marketing trends. Thus, by using SMM, you can choose the best strategy to improve the quality of your service and also find ways to expand it.
To manage Any Crisis That May Arise
By monitoring social media, you can keep up to date with conversations occurring online in real time; this gives you the ability to address false accusations and negative comments quickly or prepare a response to the issue promptly.
Rules and Regulations for monitoring Social Media
IT RULES RELATED TO SOCIAL MEDIA IN INDIA
The Information Technology (Amendment) Act, of 2008 contains several provisions that recognize privacy protection and privacy rights. The sections that recognize the privacy issues and privacy rights are Section 43A, 72A, 69, and 69B.These sections are well drafted when it comes to fraud cases which happen through or by social networking sites. Encroachment on the right of privacy could be in the interest of national security.
Section 43A of IT ACT 2008
“Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 Section 43A makes a mandatory data protection regime in Indian law. The section obliges corporate bodies who ‘possess, deal or handle’ any ‘sensitive personal data’ to implement and maintain ‘reasonable’ security practices, failing which, they would be liable to compensate those affected and the compensation has no upper limit to be claimed which may even be in excess of 5 crore rupees. Corporate bodies have been defined as any company and include a firm, sole proprietorship or other association of individuals engaged in commercial or professional activities. Thus, government agencies and non-profit organizations are entirely excluded from the ambit of this section.”
Section 72A of IT ACT 2008
“Section 72A says that a person including an intermediary could be held liable if he discloses “personal information” which had been accessed while providing services under a contract. The liability arises if the disclosure was made with an intention to cause or knowledge that he is likely to cause wrongful loss or wrongful gain to a person.”
Section 69 and 69B of IT ACT 2008
“Section 69 of the amended Act empowers the state to issue directions for interception, monitoring, decryption of any information through any computer resource. Section 69B empowers the Government the authority to monitor, collect traffic data or information through any computer resource for cyber security. In the interest of national security, sovereignty, public order etc., the Central Government may intercept /monitor any information transmitted through any computer resource also for investigation of any offence.”
IT Acts liable for Social Media Crimes
Section 66 of IT ACT 2008
“This section is used when the imposter fraudulently and dishonestly with ulterior motive uses the fake profiles to spread spam or viruses or commit data theft. The act is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with a fine which may extend to five lakh rupees or with both.”
Section 66A of IT ACT 2008
“This section is used when the imposter posts offensive or menacing information on the fake profile concerning the person in whose name the profile is created. Further, the fake profile also misleads the recipient about the origin of the message posted. The offence is punishable with an imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and fine.”
Section 66C of IT ACT 2008
“When the imposter uses the unique identification feature of the real person like his/her photograph and other personal details to create a fake profile, the offence under Section 66C Information Technology Act is attracted which is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and be liable to a fine which may extend to one lakh rupee.”
Section 66D of IT ACT 2008
“When the imposter personates the real person by means of a fake profile and cheats then the provision of Section 66D Information Technology Act is attracted which is punishable in the same manner as preceding Section 66C.”
IT RULES RELATED TO SOCIAL MEDIA IN USA
Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
“Employers who hire outside vendors to investigate either an applicant’s or an employee’s social media activities and content may be required by law to get written consent from those individuals. The information collected from a social media site may constitute a ‘consumer report’ under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). In addition, the FCRA would require employers to provide information to individuals as to how they may dispute the accuracy of the report with the company that furnished the report. This requirement, however, applies only when the employer takes an adverse action based on the report.”
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)
“The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Act of 2008 has basic procedures for physical and electronic surveillance and the collection of foreign intelligence information. It also provides strict judicial and congressional oversight of any covert surveillance activities. Under this act, the US Government is authorized to conduct surveillance of Americans’ international communications, including phone calls, emails, and Internet records, exactly what is addressed by the PRISM program. These orders do not need to specify who is being spied on or the reasons for doing so. It is now possible for government agencies to collect information on foreign communications.”
“Section 215 of the Patriot Act, authorizes the existence of special procedures, authorized by the FISA court to force U.S. companies to deliver assets and records of their customers, from the metadata to confidential communications, including e-email, chat, voice and video, videos and photos. It expands the law enforcement power to spy on every US citizen, including permanent residents, without providing explanation, starting the investigation on the exercise of First Amendment rights.”
Other Important acts related to Social Media
Impermissible discrimination in hiring based on social media research can subject a company to investigation by the EEOC, as well as possible action for alleged violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and many other federal and state statutes.
Companies whose employees participate in conversations on social media platforms while using company computers may want to monitor their employees’ social media communications. Such monitoring is not without its legal dangers, though, as an employer may then be subject to liability under the Stored Communications Act (part of the larger Electronic Communications Privacy Act), if an employer accesses the content of non-public communications not stored on the company’s own server. In addition, if employees and/or managers engage in unprofessional exchanges online, that can lead to harassment claims against the company.
Social media legal risks may also be present if an employer decides to fire employees based on their Facebook interactions with other employees in the organization. In one incident, where an employee was fired for negative comments about her supervisor posted on a Facebook page shared with other employees, the National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) said that employer’s action violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). In the NRLB’s view, the firing interfered with employee rights under the NLRA stipulation relating to union organizing—which allows employees to discuss wages, hours, and working conditions with co-workers and others, while not at work.
In another case, an employee alleged that a company’s social media policy restrictions on employee communications about the company (on such sites) were a violation of the NLRA. The complaint was resolved for an undisclosed amount, along with an agreement to revise the company’s social media rules.
Are the Rights of Individuals Challenged?
Freedom of speech is the political right to communicate one’s opinions and ideas using one’s body and property to anyone who is willing to receive them. In India, freedom of speech has no geographical limitation and it carries with it the right of a citizen to gather information and to exchange thought with others not only within orders but abroad also.
But India has started tracking public views and sentiments on social media platforms to step up its preparedness in handling sensitive issues and protests. For this purpose, the country’s first social media lab has been established by the Mumbai Police, Technical infrastructure and training is provided by NASSCOM and the tool is from SocialAppsHQ.com. Almost all countries are developing such an approach to monitor the public views.
Naturally, this raises questions about the freedom of expression and the rights of Indian citizens. But digging deeper into freedom of speech article give insights that the freedom has been liable to some restrictions in particular cases. Under certain conditions, such as state security, decency and morality, public order, incitement to an offence, etc., this freedom has been restricted and is punishable.
Last year, the law enforcement mechanism had failed to gauge the size and seriousness of public sentiments until things had gone out of control and, in almost all the cases, social media were used as drivers to ramp up support. Thus a real-time monitoring mechanism for social media adds a lot to reduction of these consequences by using social media monitoring mechanisms to analyze sentiment, identify behavioral patterns, influencers and advocates, track increase in chatter, and generate alerts in real-time on social media platforms. So the action of government for setting up a lab for social media monitoring cannot be criticized. After all, the intent of the social media lab is to prevent demonstrations and protests which can not only cripple a city, but the entire country.
Tools for Social Media Monitoring
Common tools used for social media monitoring includes the following:
Sysomos is one of the powerful tools that are available in the market for social media monitoring. It boasts features like data collection, information processing, data analysis, etc. In data collection, data is collected and filtered for spam or other false positives. During information processing, data is gathered and, through translation and text analytics, it combs the data for insights and intelligence. During data analysis, all of the data is analyzed and categorized according to demographics, sentiment, key influencer, and buzz volume. Output is provided in the form of charts and graphs that provide visual confirmation of social media campaign’s process.
It monitors millions of sources in 42 languages, including social media channels, blogs, forums etc. It provides alerts in real-time via push notifications. Various social media accounts can be connected and we can receive combined alerts from all these outlets. It also removes the false positives and spam and sorts out the important mentions, thus reducing the noise. It generates a snapshot of mentions by source, language and over a selected period of time in PDF and CSV format. This result can be used to compare with the competitors.
Brand Watch employs the power of a web crawler to focus and capture data relevant to a brand or a product. Brand Watch can adapt to a variety of client loads. This web crawler operates in real time and, as soon as it satisfies a particular search query, stores this data to its many servers working in real time. These crawlers collect data from sources such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, discussion forums, news sites, Image sites, corporate sites, etc. This data can then be queried using an SQL-like language developed by Brand Watch to drill down or slice and dice data according to our needs.
Its social media monitoring, analytics, and engagement tools help organizations to identify opportunities and potential crises when they arise, while finding new and innovative ways to enhance customer relationships and better service clients. It offers both unlimited search queries and results that are not usually provided by other products. It costs up to $3,000/month, which is suitable for a national brand or large agency.
This is a tool that uses keywords to identify specific topics of conversation that are specific to particular social communities. It monitors and translates from 27 different languages and its search-based social media monitoring digs deep into the social media chaos to target the most relevant conversations using precise Boolean logic. Its monitoring platform analyzes millions of social media posts from several social media sites. When new social media websites appear on the web, they are also included in the Meltwater databases. Data can also be archived for up to six months for broad coverage of issues.
Social Radar uses big data for social media monitoring and produces output after analyzing the collected data. It finds patterns and performs deep historical analysis using archives spanning more than six years. It creates powerful custom filters based on rich individual profiling data, like an instant massive focus group. It includes variety of reporting options, including custom dashboards, raw data exporting, graphs, and tailored interactive access.
This is a tool that has a distinctive feature that helps you to quickly see the number of new results, velocity change, share of voice, etc. Outputs can be produced using an Excel exporting feature, RSS/XML feeds, or via email alerts. It has an archival feature through which complete resources can be archived for viewing the original article, sharing with co-workers, or bookmarking for follow-up.
It has an easy-to-use dashboard and provides several customizations and real-time insights about a brand or industry. Ubervu can help to understand and engage with audiences, to find influencers, reply to comments on multiple social networks straight from a single dashboard and so on. It is also useful to monitor keywords and brand mentions and be alerted of any real-time spikes in mentions, sentiment, activity, and other important metrics.
How SMM Works
Social media monitoringis the monitoring of social media channels for information about a company, usually tracking various social media content such as blogs, sites, social networking sites, etc.
Usually SMM works with the help of web crawlers that index sites by crawling them in real time. Some sites such as Twitter are crawled in real time, while some others are crawled depending on their importance. Most tools use their own web crawlers, while some of them use a data provider’s crawlers. Data are fetched by using queries or search strings that the user writes to find mentions of specific words and phrases on those pages. Then the input that contains these keywords is produced as output and can be represented using graphs and other metrics.
Here the mentions are usually keywords that name a brand, a company, a product, or an individual. Boolean operators allow complex search strings to be written in order to find exactly what is required, ignoring irrelevant content is. This means that, as well as searching for specific terms and words, users can search for mentions on specific sites, in different languages and regions, with specific page titles, and so on.
Basically, a SMM tool works in four steps. They are
For collecting data, queries can be given as Boolean search strings. Then web crawlers search the Internet for the relevant data and index those sites. These crawlers then inspect each corner of the social web to find data related to that particular query and constantly revisit all those sources to check for any changes to the datasets.
SMM uses automated systems that may include several layers of pattern-matching algorithms and, keyword-density checks to detect specific text. Some of them have specific algorithms that recognize which parts of a web page are real content and which are navigation text or adverts. In order to remove duplicates, it makes use of a fingerprinting technology, ensuring that the same mention is not picked up twice, thus producing accurate results for all queries.
Natural language processing algorithms are used to recognize the language used in the pages that have been crawled; this improves the accuracy of the other analysis processes. It can sort out the data by using the date range and by using different types of logic, hence the content can be obtained for a specific date range. It also contains different techniques that can be used to track the content from a location level, including the city level.
Analyzed data is produced as output in the form of dashboards that produce a quick overview of key aspects of dataset that are ideal for those reporting or performing ad hoc monitoring. Data can be exported in Excel, CSV, RSS, and XML format and charts can also be exported directly in a variety of formats and sizes.
Challenges of Social Media Monitoring
Although there are a lot of positive sides to social media monitoring, some challenges are also faced in this field. They includes
→ No access to messages, closed groups, etc.
Currently there is no access to private post and closed group communications on some social media like Facebook. This is one of the main drawbacks that reduce the overall efficiency of Social Media Monitoring.
→ Social media data are huge
Since data from Social Media’s are unstructured and of high volume, data cannot be pulled into a relational or structured database. In order to overcome this drawback, big data should be correlated, but it also adds to the policy violations of social media. However one of the top players in SMM, Sysomos, argues that, they have the capability to capture and archive this unstructured data. There are also legal issues involved in bringing data from social media into an infrastructure for analysis.
→ Sentimental analysis
Most of the Social Media monitoring services provide the sentimental analysis of the results they provide. This sentimental analysis carried out by SMM tool can’t be taken as a valid result and has to be manually verified. (Sentimental analysis is done to determine the attitude of the speaker, based upon a group of text)
→ Strict legal measurements
Section 43A of IT Act 2008(India) obliges corporate bodies to take strict security measurement while handling sensitive personal data. Failing to provide this makes them liable to compensation that has no upper limit.
Free Tools for Social Media Monitoring
Is a social media management tool used to build a brand online based on different social media websites. It allows users to create numerous social network streams and view them in a clean, user-friendly interface. It also has the ability to dispatch messages to multiple social networks simultaneously.
Is a service that provides email updates of the latest Google results (web, news, etc.) based on Google search queries. After entering a search query for monitoring, a preview of the type of results will be received as email. Some uses of Google Alerts include monitoring a news stories, staying up to date on a particular competitor or industry etc.
TweetReach is a free tool that is used to monitor Twitter in real time. TweetReach measures the actual impact and implications of social media discussions. It can be used to find out who are your most influential followers, who are interested in you products etc.
Klout is one of the most controversial social media monitoring tools available. It measures influence through engagement on Twitter and it is a good method of keeping an eye on what customers think about your brand. It has a ranking system that helps you to measure customer sentiment as well.
Social Mention monitors over 100 social media sites. It analyzes data in a comprehensive fashion and measures how and what causes people to be influenced as they are.
Addictomatic focuses on a variety of platforms such as Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, WordPress, Bing News, Delicious, Google, Ask.com, etc. It keeps an eye on recent industry developments and brand reputation.
This tool offers blog, Twitter, and Facebook monitoring in 20 languages, it also provide results in the form of graphs. It allows choosing the time frame for searches and can also be used for keeping an eye on blogger activity, as it has around 200 million blogs in its database and provide the possibility of finding the latest trend terms related to a search.
This is a tool for scheduling tweets and monitoring interactions and messages on the twittersphere, as well as tracking common hash tags and managing multiple Twitter accounts all from a single application.
Recently, there has been “much ado” over some employers seeking Facebook password and login information from job applicants. While this practice just recently caught the media’s attention, the reality is employers have been using social media to investigate job applicants for years. For example, in 2011, Reppler, a social media monitoring service, conducted a survey of 300 hiring professionals to learn if, when, and how they are using social media to screen job applicants. Specifically, according to the survey, 91% of the recruiters and hiring managers stated they have used social networking sites to screen prospective employees. And, 69% of these recruiters and hiring managers revealed that they have denied employment to job applicants due to something they found on an applicant’s social networking site.
Employers, however, should be cautious when using information obtained from social media to make hiring decisions. Though technology has outpaced the law in this area, employers should be sure that the information they receive does not lead them to liability under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), or under various state and federal employment discrimination laws.
Complying With The FCRA: Under the FCRA, employers must provide to job applicants (and employees) a disclosure that a consumer report/background check will be performed, and the employer should obtain the individual’s authorization to proceed with the check. Furthermore, the employer must provide notice to the individual if it will take adverse action (not hire the individual, for example), before the employer takes that action. The FCRA also requires an employer to provide a post-adverse action notice as well.
Importantly, the FCRA requirements do not apply to employers who perform their own background checks without using a consumer-reporting agency to obtain the information. Thus, for example, if the employer’s own human resources personnel, or if the hiring manager, performs social media research on a job applicant, the FCRA does not apply to those actions. And, of course, there are smartphone applications for this type of research. The FTC warned a few of the companies providing these smartphone applications, but the FTC has not yet determined that an employer’s use of these smartphone applications are subject to the FCRA.
Consequently, employers should be sure to understand the requirements and procedures of the FCRA, and consult an employment attorney. Employers should also be sure to monitor the “apps” they are using to learn whether the FTC has opined about a certain smartphone application. Simply, as the law evolves, so must employer behavior.
Watch Out For Discrimination Claims: Employers must also pay close attention to privacy and anti-discrimination laws. For years, employers have been counseled to not invade employee privacy, to not base any employment decisions on protected characteristics, and to avoid unlawful questions during the hiring process. Now, with so many employers conducting pre-employment research on a job applicant’s social profile, employers are opening themselves up to discrimination claims under federal, state, and even local laws.
By reviewing social networking profiles and information, employers are learning about job applicants’ religious beliefs, marital status, family relationships, race, ethnicity, medical conditions, and other information that cannot be used to make an employment-based decision — information that is considered “taboo.” As a result, employers must take care when performing such research. Ultimately, should a discrimination claim arise, the employer will have the burden of proof to demonstrate that the decision to reject a job applicant was based on a legitimate non-discriminatory reason, rather than the fact that the employer learned of the job applicant’s sexual orientation, the projected due date of the job applicant’s baby, or any other protected characteristic.
One practical method is to only allow someone who is not involved in the hiring of the specific position to be the person who conducts the social media background check. Then, when the social media background check is completed, that person can summarize the job-related information that may be helpful in considering the applicant, and can make no mention of the “protected” information (race, religion, medical condition, etc.) that would otherwise get the employer into trouble. This way, the hiring manager, or ultimate decision-maker, receives only the job-related information, and can demonstrate that the information unknown to him or her had nothing to do with the decision to hire another candidate.
Furthermore, before the job opening is even posted, employers should be clear about what they are really looking for in a social media background check, and whether it is necessary for the particular position. For example, the importance and extent of a social media background may depend on the position the company needs to fill (for example, a CFO position versus a seasonal stockroom employee). Certainly, employers should doing enough pre-hiring due diligence to avoid potential claims of negligent hiring, but they must balance those concerns with finding out information that exposes them to liability for discrimination.
About Those Requests For Login/Password Information: As recently reported, some employers have gone much further than just simple web surfing to research job candidates. Some have started to ask job applicants to provide the company with their Facebook username and password, and/or to require applicants to login to their Facebook accounts during an in-person interview.
In response to the spotlight on these news reports, Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) have requested the Department of Justice (DOJ) to determine if these employer requests violate the federal Stored Communications Act (SCA) or the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Generally, the SCA, 18 U.S.C. § 2701, prohibits intentional access to electronic information without authorization or intentionally exceeding that authorization, and the CFAA, 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(2)(C), prohibits intentional access to a computer to obtain information without authorization. They also asked the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to determine whether employers who request login/password information are violating anti-discrimination statutes.
State legislators, including those in California, Illinois, Maryland and New Jersey, have also jumped on the bandwagon and have introduced legislation that aims to prohibit this practice. For example, in California, on March 27, 2012 Senator Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, introduced the “Social Media Privacy Act” (SB 1349) to the legislature. Senator Yee’s proposal would add new sections to the California Labor Code and Education Code prohibiting private and public colleges, universities, and employers from “requiring, or formally requesting in writing, a student or an employee, or a prospective student or employee, to disclose the user name or account password for a personal social media account, or to otherwise provide the institution or employer with access to any content of that account.” While this piece of legislation is a bit too simple, and will likely need to be refined, the law is attempting to catch up with technology in this area.
In general, employers should think twice, and consult an employment attorney, before establishing a practice of requiring employees and applicants to turn over login information. And, though the law is evolving in this specific area, employers should understand that such a practice might have many “non-legal” ramifications, like, the company losing talented employees and/or potential employees who refuse to give access to social media login credentials. Furthermore, such policies may lead to lower employee morale and distrust, and other issues that will be explored in future posts concerning social media and employment law.
Information provided on this website is not legal advice, nor should you act on anything stated in this article without conferring with the Author or other legal counsel regarding your specific situation.
By Muhammad Saad Khan Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter and many other social networking websites have taken a place of a joy ride; everyone is using this social phenomenon when they need a break from their work. I believe for many in this increasingly implicit world having a chat with a cyber friend brings some meaning, if not a respite from the grind of work. Yet, I am surprised at the time that my social network friends spend on these sites-they must be spending many hours every day posting slapstick or goofy pictures, worthless links, and creepy comments about others. If only their employers knew. Actually, their employers do know. Increasingly companies are compelled to monitor the behavior of employees through social media employment background checks, who post, share regularly or they have a Barron account on the social networks. Human Resources with the help from their information technology department can data mine the social networking websites to find prospective employees. Additionally, they can function as a data source for social media employment background checks, so beware what you post. The world is watching. Employers are keen to know about your social media background and they are checking it on a seven point comprehensive criteria. The only way to survive social media employment background checks is to know how employers are going to look over your social networking profiles. This is how you can get your next job hunt success and this is how you can survive at your current employment. Seven Point Criteria for Social Media Employment Background Checks by Employers:
1.Corporate Disparagement: Employers are looking for a person who is involved in bad mouthing about a company; they are focusing on a pattern of negative comments made by an employee for its current and past workplace and or about his/her past or current work mates.
2.Tendency towards Violent Behavior: In social media search, often times people are found to be expressing themselves in very violent ways and about violent acts. And employers don’t want a violent person at their workplace which can jeopardize the peaceful work environment.
3.The Indication of Drug Use: We certainly found examples where people talk about smoking marijuana or being involved in the drugs in a way that really isn’t appropriate like an underage person drinking. Employers are keen to know about it.
4.Poor Judgment: There are things like where people are talking on their Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or other sites about doing things that really show poor judgment in the way they think about stuff and that certainly is the thing employers want to avoid.
5.Racist or Anti Social Behavior: Unfortunately, there are people like that, that express themselves rather aggressively in the social media environment and they talk about hating other groups, hating individuals because they are part of those groups. Hating your religious or sexual orientation of some kind. Typically this is not kind of a person they want to have as their employee and that’s another social media employment background checks criterion.
6.Inappropriate Sexual Behavior: This is one of the areas where people sometime feel differently about one way or another. The definition of inappropriate is something that you really want to define very clearly. But if people are going way over the line, the obvious things like child pornography and other type of sexually explicit content and there is an evidence of such doing then an employer will surely use it as a social media background checks criterion to screen you out of employment.
7.Honesty and Integrity: And that’s what it is really all about, if people are talking about ripping off the company or stealing a hotdog from a street vendor when he was not looking, or something like that and bragging about it in their social media site, this is probably not someone who is going to get hired by an employer.
These seven points are the basic criterion for the social media employment background checks that employers are now considering for their hiring process and they are certainly help them to screen out their best employee in such a scarce employment situation. But one thing that has to be mentioned about social media employment background checks is that they also possess a positive element. A person who is involved in charity, professional activities, and have recommendations on their social media profiles can attract an employer to hire you as their next prospective employee. This article is written by a professional writer indulged in writing for effectiveness of social media in growing businesses all around the world; his recent work is about social media employment background checks. Source
Traditional hiring practices tell us that professional experience is one of the most important assets when determining which candidates are the best your organizational needs. Experience, education and overall presentation are the most attractive traits to an employer. But where does personality fall in the list of valuable skills?
You may be surprised but more and more hiring assessments are proclaiming personality is the most valuable skill. Assessment tools are used to determine what makes the best candidate for a desired position. You’ve probably taken a Myers Briggs personality test at some point in your career. The results or data from these types of tests helps an employer determine if a candidate is a good fit or crazier than Kat Williams.
The traditional difference between personality and skill is that skills can be taught and personality can’t. While personalities do evolve over time, I see it as, you either have a great personality or you don’t. Why is a great personality so important? Let’s take a quick a poll! Who wants to work with someone who is difficult to communicate with, defensive minded and rude? Anyone? Didn’t think so! One of the main reason people quit their jobs is because conflict with co-workers, so that makes “fit” imperative to organization success.
Many jobs require a team dynamic – working together; cross trained to perform multiple duties are common. There is a shift to service –we are learning that companies that provide great customer service excel over companies that don’t. This is important because hiring managers are looking for good personalities to work in their cross-functional teams to interact with internal and external customers.So here’s a few more examples of how hiring for personality can help you.
Increased hiring efficiency – Employees that fit in well from an attitude perspective are more likely to stick around for a while. A lower turnover ratio means your hiring process is working quite well.
Reduced negative attrition – This is closely related to turnover but slightly different, because some attrition is good. Yes, from a business standpoint you want positive movement in your organization, you know promotions and growth. However you don’t want to lose the good people – only the bad hires, so when you have a close knit team which has opportunities to advance, you have happy engaged employees.
ROI – The decisions to hire new staff is a costly one, and every company hopes that a new employee will fit in with the company so they can reap a return on investment. Remember we’re talking training, compensation and benefits.
Background checks and pre-employment screening are integral parts of the hiring process. Screening your potential employee with a thorough background check can prevent negligent hiring lawsuits and provide a safer work environment for your staff. Hire incorrectly, and you may lose productivity and earnings and even put yourself, your company or your coworkers at risk.
Companies that perform background screening can help you scrutinize potential employee’s employment and criminal history. They provide thorough background checks, from social security verification to education history, reference checks to drug history and criminal records reports.
Pre-employment background checks are important today because of the threat employers face from negligent hiring. Screening your potential employees through a thorough background check allows your human resources department to make the right decisions and avoid legal repercussions that could damage your company.
Background screening companies start by verifying job applicants employment history. They verify dates of employment, position, salary, duties, work habits, and eligibility for rehire. This is an important step because 36 percent of job applicants falsify some part of their employment application.
The companies verify education by checking high school diplomas, college and university attendance, degrees, trade school certification, grade point averages, and class rankings. This protects you from bogus degree certificates that are frequently presented by job applicants.
To conduct criminal background checks, the companies check state, county, and federal prison records as well as state and national sex offender database registries.
Motor vehicle driving records are also checked, which provide insights into drug or alcohol problems and dangerous driving habits — very important when the use of company vehicles is involved.
The companies also perform E-verify services to check your employee’s legal right to work by comparing information from the employee’s I-9 form against the Social Security and Department of Homeland Security databases.
The companies find the information through direct contact with employers, schools, government agencies, and courts. They also utilize networks of criminal researchers to provide criminal records.
Obtaining pre-employment background checks helps you avoid a high turnover rate, workplace violence, theft, and low employee morale. It will save you time and money, enable you to avoid negligent hiring lawsuits, detect falsified applications, give you the facts to make sound hiring decisions, and provide a safe and productive working environment for your staff.
Look online for companies that provide professional background screening. They can provide the reports online and have no minimums for the number of pre-employment background checks you request.
Yes, give yourself and the ones you love a background check for Christmas. Now so more than ever before is finding public records on your self and those you are closely associated vital to you in both truly protecting your identity, fundamentally protecting yourself from fraud, or even more sinister occurrences. Just recently an enormous, but trusted federal source revealed that 1 in 7 Americans are having their social security number used by another person.
The repercussions of this astonishing statistic are staggering. If you went to apply for your next job and your potential employer did a criminal background check on you (as most now do), it just may be revealed that you have a criminal record that you may not even be aware of. Do not be fooled into believing that the public record holds only the truth. Updated sex offender databases just might contain your name.
Perhaps you are planning on getting married soon sometime in the near future. What if you went to the local court house and found in the court records that you are still legally married to someone you never even met. Maybe the proper divorce records from your previous marriage had never been officially processed. Marriage records, as you can well imagine are processed by the tens of thousands every day, and a small clerical error can make your life miserable. Do you trust your future spouse? Just because you really love that person, you need not feel guilty for seeking the truth. Maybe your fiance has no idea what misinformation the public record hold on their past.
Does your sister regularly employ a nannie, baby sitter, or child care provider to watch over the kids while she’s at work? Just who is looking after your nieces and nephews? Who is in her home alone? Give your sister access to a method of finding public records on that individual that will render a background check containing the most comprehensive public record rendering system known to man.
One must separate feeling of guilt for prying into what some qualify as personal information when in fact that information may directly and negatively impact you and your family’s security, safety, and generally well being. Just in the last several years vast databases have been creating containing billions and billions of every conceivable bit of information on just about everybody.
For your own piece of mind do a background check on yourself and give access to a criminal background check to everyone you love. Act today. Erroneous information contained in your very own public records could have a huge negative impact on the next day of your life. Spending 5 minutes finding public records on yourself may save you months or even years of attempting to reverse the negative impacts of misinformation stored on you in the public records.
Logic combined with practicability needs to kick in here. Why would you go another day and possibly be setting yourself up for disaster? Go now and verify your past, at least that past which others may know more about than you do; right or wrong.
The list that follows gives 20 factors or “tests” used by the IRS when determining whether a person is an employee or an independent contractor.
The question of “who controls the details?” appears to be the primary basis on which the determination is made.
No single factor or small group of factors can be taken as conclusive evidence of the presence or absence of control. To determine a workers’ status, all the factors must be evaluated. The weight given to the individual factors is not equal, and some factors may not apply to certain occupations.
No one factor is sufficient to determine status without consideration of the others. Although many of these factors are open to interpretation as they are written, the language used here is taken exactly from IRS documents. (IRS Publication 937, Employment Taxes and Information Returns, p. 4.) Because final determination is made on a case-by-case basis, often in a court of law, it is very difficult to know in advance how a ruling would be made on any specific employer/contractor.
Following these factors is an examination of the four service provider categorie.
An employee must comply with instructions about when, where and how to work. Even if no instructions are given, the control factor is present if the employer has the right to control how the work results are achieved.
An employee may be trained to perform services in a particular manner. Independent contractors ordinarily use their own methods and receive no training from the purchasers of their services.
An employee’s services are usually integrated into the business operations because the services are important to the success or continuation of the business. This shows that the employee is subject to direction and control.
4.Services rendered personally
An employee renders services personally. This shows that the employer is interested in the methods as well as the results.
An employee works for an employer who hires, supervises and pays workers. An independent contractor can hire, supervise and pay assistants under a contract that requires him or her to provide materials and labor and to be responsible only for the result.
An employee has a continuing relationship with an employer. A continuing relationship may exist even if work is performed at recurring although irregular intervals.
7.Set hours of work
An employee usually has set hours of work established by an employer. An independent contractor generally can set his or her own work hours.
An employee may be required to work or be available full-time. This indicates control by the employer. An independent contractor can work when and for whom he chooses.
9.Work done on premises
An employee usually works on the premises of an employer, or works on a route or at a location designated by an employer.
10.Order or sequence set
An employee may be required to perform services in the order or sequence set by an employer. This shows that the employee is subject to direction and control.
An employee may be required to submit reports to an employer. This shows that the employer maintains a degree of control.
An employee is paid by the hour, week or month. An independent contractor is usually paid by the job or on a straight commission.
An employee’s business and travel expenses are generally paid by an employer. This shows that the employee is subject to regulation and control.
14.Tools and materials
An employee is normally furnished significant tools, materials and other equipment by an employer.
An independent contractor has a significant investment in the facilities he or she uses in performing services for someone else.
16.Profit or loss
An independent contractor can make a profit or suffer a loss.
17.Works for more than one person or firm
An independent contractor is generally free to provide his or her services to two or more unrelated persons or firms at the same time.
18.Offers services to the general public
An independent contractor makes his or her services available to the general public.
19.Right to fire
An employee can be fired by an employer. An independent contractor cannot be fired so long as he or she produces a result that meets the specifications of the contract.
20.Right to quit
An employee can quit his or her job without at any time incurring liability. An independent contractor usually agrees to complete a specific job and is responsible for its satisfactory completion, or is legally obligated to make good for failure to complete it.
In a recent journal article in the CPA Journal. April 1992. pp. 48-55.) Alan R. Sumutka, CPA and Associate Professor of Accounting, shared his conclusions that the 20 factors are not weighted equally.
After analyzing a number of court cases, Sumutka concluded that eight of the factors are primary and can provide “very persuasive evidence of employee status” (p. 48).
What is important is whether the service provider or the service recipient has the right to control the details of the work to be performed.
Evidence of employee status is provided if the service recipient has the right to:
•Require compliance with significant instructions (IRS Factor 1).
•Set the hours of work (IRS Factor 7).
•Set the order or sequence of services to be performed (IRS Factor 10).
•Discharge the service provider (IRS Factor 19).
•Hire, pay and supervise assistants as the nature of the work requires (IRS Factor 5).
Or if the service provider:
•Has no ability to realize a profit or loss (IRS Factor 16).
•Has no investment in significant tools, materials and other equipment when such items are necessary to accomplish the task and are usually provided by the service provider (IRS Factor 14).
•Has no significant investment in facilities when they are necessary to accomplish the task and they are customarily provided by the service provider (IRS Factor 15).
If the answer to any of these factors is “yes,” the IRS would probably make a case for an employee relationship between the service provider and the service recipient. If the answer to these eight factors is “no,” and the answer to any of the remaining IRS factors is “yes,” there is still cause for concern.
Worksheet 1, Factor evaluation questionnaire, gives the primary and secondary factors sorted and reworded according to Sumutka’s determination of impact.
Factor evaluation questionnaire
1. Does the service recipient have the right to require compliance with significant instructions?
2. Does the service recipient have the right to set the hours of work?
3. Does the service recipient have the right to set the order or sequence of services to be performed?
4. Does the service recipient have the right to discharge the service provider?
5. Does the service recipient have the right to hire, pay, and supervise assistants as the nature of the work requires?
6. Does the service provider have no ability to realize a profit or loss?
7. Does the service provider have no investment in significant tools, materials, and other equipment when such items are necessary to accomplish the task and are customarily provided by the service provider?
8. Does the service provider have no significant investment in facilities when they are necessary to accomplish the task and they are customarily provided?
9. Does the service recipient train the service provider?
10. Does the service recipient have the right to require oral or written reports?
11. Does the service recipient pay by the hour, week or month?
12. Does the service recipient pay for business and/or travel expenses?
13. Does the service recipient have the right to require personal service?
14. Does the service provider usually not work for more than one firm at a time?
15. Does the service provider maintain a continuing relationship with the service recipient?
16. Does the service provider maintain a continuing relationship with the service recipient?
17. Does the service provider devote substantially full time to the service recipient?
18. Does the service provider have the right to terminate the relationship at any time without incurring liability?
19. Is the service provider integrated into the service recipient’s business?
20. Does the service provider not make his or her services available to the public on a regular and consistent basis?
Whether it’s downloading and sharing company confidential information (a hot topic these days), manipulating expense reports, or stealing merchandise- employee theft and fraud is a serious issue for business owners. In fact, studies show that occupational fraud now results in the loss of five percent of an organizations annual revenue.
Here are some tips for preventing and managing employee theft or occupational fraud.
1. Use Pre-Employment Background Checks Wisely
One of the first steps to preventing fraudulent employee behavior is to make the right hiring decision. Basic pre-employment background checks are a good business practice for any employer, especially for those employees who will be handling cash, high-value merchandise, or have access to sensitive customer or financial data.
This Guide to Pre-Employment Background Checks outlines the types of information that you can consult as part of a pre-employment check, and the laws that govern their use. I’s worth noting, that the law varies from state to state on whether a private employer can consider an applicant’s criminal history in making hiring decisions. Check with your local EEOC office for the laws in your area before going down this path.
2. Check Candidate References
I’m always surprising how very few employers reach out to check candidate references’ often assuming that a reference will never be anything but glowing. However, i’s good practice to check references’ particularly those of former employers or supervisors. If your candidate has a history of fraudulent behavior’ then you’ll want to know about it, before you hand them a job offer.
3. Proactively Communicate Conduct Guidelines
Every business needs an employee code of ethics and conduct – while it won’t prevent criminal or fraudulent behavior, the standards it outlines will set a clear benchmark for employee behavior and guidelines on how to do business based on a series of principles that promote ethical and lawful conduct.
Once developed, the code of conduct should be documented and agreed to by all new employees (and existing employees if you haven’t put a code in place yet). You can find many templates for basic codes of conduct on the Internet, but as a rule of thumb you should include policies that cover the protection of company data, the avoidance of conflict of interests, and of course, obeying the law.
Use employee orientation as an opportunity to go over the code of conduct and explain any areas that are unclear.
Then, revisit the code each year and be sure to add any new considerations that may have materialized – for example, if you do business with certain suppliers, contractors, or government agencies who require you and your employers to agree to new codes of conduct as part of your business relationship.
4. Don’t be Afraid to Audit
Auditing always has a big brother feel, and in a small business environment this is especially true. However, conducting regular audits can help you detect theft and fraud. Audits can also be a significant deterrent to fraud or criminal activity because many perpetrators of workplace fraud seize opportunity where weak internal controls exist.
As a rule of thumb, identify high risk areas for your business and audit for violations on a 6-12 month basis – these could include business expense reports, cash and sales reconciliation, vacation and sick day reports, violations of email/social media or Web-use policies, and so on.
The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) can help companies detect and deal with fraud in the workplace. Find an ACFE-certified fraud examiner near you*.
5. Recognize the Signs
Studies show that perpetrators of workplace crime or fraud do so because they are either under pressure, feel under-appreciated, or perceive that management behavior is unethical or unfair, and rationalize their behavior based on the fact that they feel they are owed something or deserve it.
With this in mind, some of the potential red flags to look out for include:
Not taking vacations – many violations are discovered while the perpetrator is on vacation
Being overly-protective or exclusive about their workspace
Prefers to be unsupervised by working after hours or taking work home
Financial records sometimes disappearing
Unexpected change in behavior
6. Set the Right Management Tone
One of the best techniques for preventing and combating employee theft or fraud is to create and communicate a business climate that shows that you take it seriously . Here are some simple steps you can take to keep your finger on the pulse:
Reconcile statements on regular basis for fraudulent activity
Hold regular one-on-one review meetings with employees
Offer to assist employees who are experiencing stress or difficult times
Encourage open-door policies giving employees the opportunity to speak freely and share their concerns about potential violations
Are you sure that you’ve done enough screening and tests on your applicants before hiring them? The current statistics on employee theft might cause you to think otherwise.
Retail theft was up 5.5 percent in 2012, according to the Annual Retail Theft Survey. The survey, which reviewed the records of 23 major retailers, logged a similar increase in 2011, which could offer a warning about prevailing issues in the retail industry.
“The seriousness of retail theft is a much greater problem than many people realize,” says Mark R. Doyle, president of Jack L. Hayes International, the company that conducts the survey each year. “These theft losses are stealing profits from retailers and driving retail prices higher for the consumer.”
Retailers apprehended more than 1.1 million shoplifters and employees in 2012, and recovered more than $189 million in goods. To keep these losses down, experts recommend retailers become aware of the following major risks that fuel internal loss.
Low staffing levels
When consumer spending decreases, retailers are forced to cut back on the number of employees that cover the premises at a given time. When employees are left alone, internal theft increases. Investigative firm Diogenes LLC recommends that managers staff with at least two employees in the store at both open and close, as well as requiring supervisor authorization for voids and refunds.
Professional background checks cost money, while basic reference checks take managers away from their day-to-day duties. However, failure to screen job applicants properly is a top reason for employee theft, Jack L. Hayes International found.
The company analyzed a random sample of the IntegReview questionnaires that major retailers give employees to test honesty levels. More than 64 percent were found to be “low risk,” while another 16.6 percent were moderate risk.
Nearly 20 percent of applicants were deemed “high risk,” due to admissions of previous wrongdoings and answers to honesty-related questions on the test. For instance, more than 18 percent answered yes to having frequently associated with those who were admittedly stealing, while more than 9 percent said they are not honest and may steal or cheat.
By weeding out these high- and moderate-risk candidates from the start, retailers may be able to prevent a large number of theft incidents.
Outdated inventory management
Inventory management procedures are essential in a retail environment. Retailers should have a record of every item that enters and leaves every store in their system, and this information should be verified through regular store-wide inventories.
Any “shrinkage” should be logged in as detailed a manner as possible, with notes as to whether the loss was the result of theft or breakage. And don’t forget about your warehouse. Often retailers spend so much time focusing on floor activity, they miss out on this crucial area of the operation.
Items initially enter and sometimes exit the store in this area, which makes it a prime target for theft, since warehouse staff can easily state items were never received. Have receiving and shipping policies in place to prevent losses, and conduct regular audits of warehouse processes.
Electronic inventory management solutions can save retailers thousands in theft each year, because they make it easier to track inventory. Outdated manual systems are not only time-consuming, they are also more prone to errors.
As the holiday season approaches, it’s important that retailers review their hiring and loss prevention policies to avoid theft. In the rush to staff stores, many retailers hire teams of seasonal employees without taking the time to do background checks.
Even if a retailer can’t afford a full-time surveillance staff, security cameras installed throughout the store, as well as in stock rooms and warehouses, can go a long way toward preventing internal theft.
Just as the personal reference checks provide the opportunity to obtain corroborating information on whether the applicant will potentially be a good addition to the company, employment background checks can uncover more information related to the ability of the organization to trust the individual.
Organizations want to be sure of the individuals that they are hiring and minimize future lawsuits. Statistics have shown that resumes are filled with errors, accidental mistakes, or blatant lies to provide a perceived advantage to the applicant.
Common falsifications include embellishment of skill levels, job responsibilities and accomplishments, certification held, and the length of employment. The employment screening can greatly assist the hiring manager in determining whether he or she has an accurate representation of the skills, experience, and work accomplishments of the individual.
Commercial businesses typically do not have the time and money to conduct meaningful, thorough investigations on their own and hire outside firms that specialize in the various background checks. So they hire Background screening Companies to uncover:
12 Important things can be revealed through Complete Employment Background Check:
Gaps in Employment
Misrepresentation of job titles
Reasons for leaving job
Validity and status of professional certification
Education verification and degrees obtained
Social security number verification
Timing of Employment Background Checks Matter:
An effective background check program requires that all individuals involved in the hiring process support the program prior to the candidate being selected for hire. This requires that the human resources department, legal, hiring supervisors, and recruiters understand and execute the screening process.
Once the individual is hired into the organization, it is harder to obtain the information without having a specific cause for performing the investigation. Employees should also be periodically reinvestigated consistent with the sensitivity of their positions. This should also be documented in policy including a frequency schedule.
Perform Employment Background Checks According to the Position of Employee:
Types of Employment Background Screening:
Many different types of employment background checks can be performed depending upon the position that the individual many be hired for. A best practice would be to perform background checks on all of the company’s employees and to require external agencies through contract agreements to perform background screening on the contractors, vendors, and anyone coming in contact with the company assets. If this cost-prohibitive, the organization must decide on the positions on which it is most critical to conduct background checks.
Banks, for example, are required to perform background checks on any employee who may come in contact with money. In a bank this is obviously nearly every employee. The types of checks range from minimal checks to full background investigations. The types of individuals upon whom an organization may focus the checks or decide to provide more extensive checks include;
Individuals involved in technology
Individuals with access to confidential or sensitive information
Employees with access to company proprietary or competitive data
Positions working with accounts payable, receivables, or payroll
Positions dealing directly with the public
Employees working for healthcare industry-based organizations or organizations dealing with financial information
Positions involving driving a motor vehicle
Employees who will come in contact with children
What Benefits Employers Get by Doing Complete Employment Background Checks:
Benefits of Employment Screening & Verification:
The benefits of Employment background screening in protecting the company are self-evident; however, the following benefits may also be realized:
Increased confidence that the most qualified candidate was hired versus the one who interviewed the best
Lower hiring cost
Protection of assets
Protection of the company’s brand reputation
Shielding of employees, customers and the public from theft, violence, drugs, and harassment.
Insulation from negligent hiring and retention lawsuits.
Safer workplace by avoiding hiring employees with a history of violence
Discouraging of applicants with something to hide
Identification of the criminal activity
The bottom line is that in order to be safe, employers need to know exactly what a prospective employment background check company can exactly do according to their needs. Every employer has different needs according to the form of business they are in. If it’s banking sector, then the employment background check must be focused on financial credentialing, credit score, credit history or criminal background check. Similarly an employer is hiring medical staff or engineers, then the background screening will somewhat differ according to the profession. Customize employment background checks can not only save a lot of time but also manage the extra bit of cost that sometimes seen to be wasted in in-adequate checks.