How offensive is your Facebook page?

Ever wonder if your future employers check your Facebook to gain some insight on your personal life? A 2009 Harris Interactive Study surveyed employers using CareerBuilder.com and check out the shocking results: 45% of employers questioned use social networks to pre-screen job candidates; 35% of them chose to not hire a candidate based on what they found. In today’s world, one that revolves around social networking sites, employers are relying more and more on social networking sites for background information, but have no fear, there is a new program that can help you out!

One could probably assume that their Facebook is somewhat NSFW (maybe from the college years), but the new program, Socioclean, quickly rummages through your site and gives your the opportunity to delete whatever the program finds offensive or aggressive. If you give permission to run the program, Socioclean will scan your social profile (pictures, wall posts, comments and status updates) for 5,000 words and phrases that are racial, profane, drug-related or alcohol-related and display them in an organized fashion. Though the program won’t automatically delete the inappropriate information on your site itself, it will point out the specific words or phrases that should be deleted; you have the power to get rid of the information yourself.

I ran the program on my Facebook profile and received an alarming grade: F. The report actually said “Run for the hills! Requires immediate action!” After looking through the results one by one, I discovered that context is not taken into account. For instance, I wrote a post about a cocktail dress and the word “cocktail” was flagged for being alcohol/drug related. Also, the word “fire” is flagged because it is considered aggressive, so if a post references a bonfire, it is flagged as well. I think the program means well, but some of the words it flags are ridiculous.

This program is rather helpful to job seekers because it allows you to view the post and delete it immediately if you chose to do so. I’m not sure how the Facebook privacy factor works into this; my Facebook page is completely private, therefore, anyone who isn’t my friend can’t look at any of the information on my page. It’s a good idea to set your profile to private anyways, just to be safe. It is proven that employers actually do look at Facebook pages, so the best thing to do is to keep them PG!

(Photo taken from the previously cited Mashable.com article)

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