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According to Statista, the number of worldwide social media users reached 2.34 billion and is expected to grow to some 2.95 billion by 2020. Social media has a opened huge window into people’s life. With just one google search, employers have the ability to check a potential or current employee’s social media accounts to see the past events in their lives and to find out more about them. Sometimes, employers will find something which is offensive to them or they do not approve of.
This will in turn create a bad impression of that person which can lead to a person losing their opportunity at a good job. Many feel that that employers shouldn’t be allowed to look into that window because it invades their privacy. While I don’t believe employers should watch what you post on social media, you do have a choice to have your profile public or private. If you choose to have your profile public and decided to post illegal things or anything that could make the company look bad, I feel that the employer does have a right to discipline or fire you for it.
Social media is a form of electronic communication through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (Marriam-Webster).
The most common websites people use are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, VSCO, and LinkedIn. These accounts can provide information about their friends and families, their interest, where they’ve been and even where they currently are.
A person’s interest and posts on social media can tell you a lot about them. For instance, their likes and dislikes, what they find to be funny, what they find to be important, even the kinds of things they’re sensitive about. Knowing such things about a person can tell you a lot about them without even meeting them. Many social media accounts have the option to be public or private. Being public allows anyone who googles a person or comes across their profile to view everything they have ever posted. If the profile is private, they will be able to still search for the person on google, but they must have an account with the website and must also send a request to the person whose profile they want to view. That person may accept or decline whether they want that person to view their profile or not. Since social media has become popular, the number of employees being fired over something they have posted online is rising and employers are also now looking closely at job applicants’ social media before hiring. (Wall Street)
According to a 2013 survey from CareerBuilder, 39% of employers dig into candidates on social sites, while 43% of employers said that they had found something that made them disregard a candidate. On the other side, 19% said they found information that sold them on a candidate, such as communication skills or a professional image. (Wall Street) What you post on social media is a reflection of who are you, and you are a reflection of the company you work for. If an employer can looks up your social media and can see what you are on your social media, then anyone can too. If an employer catches an employee using social media while on the clock, or finds out they are posting slander about their job or boss, or even posting about being somewhere when you called in sick, they have the right to provide disciplinary actions or even fire you.
Should employers have a right to discipline or fire you for what you post outside of work and is not work related? Depending on what kind of job you have, something you post can be negatively impacted on the company. If you post about illegal activity or continuous offensive words on page, that makes the company look bad, then yes, the employer should have a right to act on it. Evidence that employees and applicants are being held accountable for information found on their personal sites is beginning to be discussed in the media and in court documents. An applicant had an offer rescinded, because the law firm found that the student was affiliated with a web site that contained negative statements about female law students, even though the law student had not posted any offensive remarks. A producer for one of CNN’s news shows was fired for blogging off work, even though he did not identify himself as a CNN employee (Clark and Roberts 2010).
Many people have lost jobs because of their post and likes of political opinions and religious beliefs. A photo in a bikini has cost many women their job. One man was fired because his employer didn’t like his short stories (too much sex and violence). None of these people did anything while at work, illegal, or impacted their company, they were all reprimanded for it. While many believe this practice is acceptable, some believe that it is unethical and against their privacy. Although there is a lack of understanding about how privacy should be defined, there is a general belief that there is a natural right to have some information about oneself kept from others. Even if the information of that an individual is personal, that privacy waived once it is placed on the internet (Clark and Roberts).
The internet is not private, once it is published online it is available for anyone to see. For example, A friend updates their Facebook picture to a picture of their friends and their self at a bar, with drinks in their hand, and tags each friend in it. Not only are all of their friends notified that the update has been made, but every friend of the tagged person is to. Quickly, a user loses control over the content that is posted online and made available to other people. Like discussed earlier, many social media sites have many options to control your privacy. You do have the option to review a photo before it is added to your profile, but unfortunately you are in no control what photos of you get posted online. Online communication is that it is a permanent type of communication. Even when a user deletes the information, it remains the property of the social media site and can be recalled at a later time. Sometimes a user’s deleted profile is still retrievable upon an Internet search because it exists somewhere else online. (Clark and Roberts)
Because it is permanent, a person mistakes and misjudgments may come back to haunt them. Though employers shouldn’t take to social media to find out about applicants or employees, there is no way of stopping it since social media is public and available to anyone. While what you may not consider a certain post or photo to be inappropriate, some employers will. It’s important to step back and take a precautious approach to your social media behavior. (Gaudet) Don’t post obsessive about of crude language, drunken party photos, provocative photos, or racist memes. Those behaviors could rule you out for a potential job and even lead to disciplinary actions at work. If you are worried about what would happen if your boss saw it, don’t post it. Lastly, make your profile private. That is the easiest way to keep unwanted people from seeing your profile. In the past few years, the use of social media has sky rocketed.
These users use social media to keep in contact with family and friends, post updates about their lives, and express their selves. A concern has been raised about employers who have now taken to social media as a forum of background check on job applicants, and a way to watch what their employees are doing off the clock. While employers shouldn’t have a right to control what you post on your own personal account, they do have right to control who they have working for their company. You can’t blame employers for wanting to know more about applicants before making a commitment. There are circumstances where the Internet may contain relevant information. You also can’t blame employers for being shown something on your account that you posted. The best way to stay out of trouble to keep your profile professional or private.
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