Social Media and the Fair Credit Reporting Act

Many employers screen job applicants with background searches that include searches for information on social-networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
If the employer hires another company to conduct such searches, the employer and the third-party vendor conducting the background check may be subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
The Federal Trade Commission recently  investigated such a third-party vendor, Social Intelligence Corp., who conducts background checks that include searches of such social media. The FTC found that Social Intelligence could continue to search for photos and other information on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter as part of their background check services while complying with the FCRA.
“Consumer reporting agencies must comply with several different FCRA provisions, and these compliance obligations apply equally in the social networking context. For example, consumer reporting agencies must take reasonable steps to ensure the maximum possible accuracy of the information reported from social networking sites. Consumer reporting agencies must also provide employers who use their consumer reports with information about their obligations under the FCRA, such as their obligation to provide employees or applicants with notice of any adverse action taken on the basis of these reports.” FTC Letter.
Employers who hire companies to conduct background checks that include social media searches should discuss with such vendors the compliance requirements for both the vendor and the employer under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Post by: Don Benson

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