Posts filed under 'Facebook'
By Brittany Falconer
This week, the Associated Press (via Boston.com) reported on companies requesting online log-in information of hopeful job candidates, highlighting Facebook, Twitter, and in some cases, email.
The claims from the organizations employing the tactic
- Getting to know a candidate thoroughly before making an offer
- Virtual friends know more than real-life friends, thus being a better resource for background checks
- “People keep their social profiles updated to the minute, which allows us to consider them for other jobs in the future or for ones that they may not realize are available currently”
- “Akin to requiring someone’s house keys” and “an egregious privacy violation”
- “A violation of people’s personal privacy”
- “Volunteering is coercion if you need a job” (in response to companies that say it’s voluntary)
So, the companies think it’s okay, but as for everyone else, maybe not so much. Personally, while I try not to let the online profiles get too questionable (aside from all my Untappd achievements), I have to agree that providing log-in details to a potential employer is a big no-no. I understand wanting to know as much about your candidates as possible, but just because there is more information doesn’t give a recruiter the right to invade a person’s private account. Google is an impressive tool. If your job candidate did a good enough job locking down their personal information, maybe that should speak to their diligence when it comes to keeping personal matters personal.
Also, on the argument that social profiles are up-to-the-minute current, I wonder if these people have ever heard of a company called LinkedIn. It’s kind of a cool idea, where job-seekers can network with other professionals online and post their experience. What really may be of interest to those recruiters is that job-seekers on the site are most likely to have updated résumés! Crazy, right?!
I asked our HR manager, Shana Pressman, what her thoughts were:
As a human resources professional, working in a corporate setting, I have always believed in values such as integrity, respect and trust. This is a clear indication of the type of working environment the company offers to its employees. Of course, employees and applicants should be cognizant of their social activity and how their reputation is developed online; however, an HR professional should never ask for personal property or private information.
I have to agree with her. Sure, there may be some bad apples in the applicant pool, but chances are they will eventually get themselves fired (one way or another). A company that’s asking for access to something that’s kept private for a reason is not an establishment where I’d like to work (luckily, I’m here at Racepoint Group) – even in this tough jobs economy. I’d rather go back to Starbucks. Don’t get all TSA on me, HR.
Could you bear to share your log-in information if it was the difference between being considered for the job and being sent home?
UPDATE: Mashable reports that Facebook isn’t too cool with this concept either, and that it’s going to side with the users on this one:
“This practice undermines the privacy expectations and the security of both the user and the user’s friends,” [Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan wrote on the Facebook Privacy blog. “It also potentially exposes the employer who seeks this access to unanticipated legal liability.”
Two major risks Egan highlighted are realizing age and/or sexual orientation, which could lead to discrimination suits if a candidate doesn’t get the job, and potential evidence that may pertain to a crime – and who doesn’t love having to go testify in court?
I’m glad to see that Facebook is stepping up on this one. They may continually mess with our privacy settings, but at least they’re going to be the only ones who can do that – even if it means taking legal action.
We’ll take action to protect the privacy and security of our users, whether by engaging policymakers or, where appropriate, by initiating legal action, including by shutting down applications that abuse their privileges.
March 23rd, 2012
By Guest Author
This is a guest post by Samantha Hamilton. Follow her on Twitter at @SamJHamilton.
Launched earlier this year, Facebook has quickly rolled out its Timeline functionality to users globally and recently gave brands the chance to utilize the new option. However, yesterday Timeline saw a first: its use as a negative political campaign tactic.
Yesterday, following former-Governor Mitt Romney’s six-state Super-Tuesday win, Newt Gingrich rolled out the “Romney Record.” A Facebook Timeline, the “Romney Record” chronicles Romney’s political career, specifically highlighting what Gingrich deems to be his more “liberal & out-of-touch” moments.
The Timeline starts in 1947, with Romney’s birth and jumps to 1984, when Romney helped start Bain Capital (with a photo of Romney and his colleagues literally covered in money). It continues with highlights from Romney’s political career: photos and videos from his 1994 senatorial run and first gubernatorial campaign.
Presented as being a record of Romney’s liberal leanings, the postings focus mainly on his support of the individual mandate (also known as RomneyCare) and highlight several gaffes from the current presidential campaign (“I like being able to fire people” and “I’ll bet you $10,000”).
As a visual interpretation, the “Romney Record” serves a great purpose. It provides users with an easy to digest, chronological view of a candidate’s history. Gingrich is no stranger to this major upside to Timeline, he was the first U.S. candidate to unveil one.
However, there is a serious consequence to this new social strategy. Namely, a negligible lack of transparency. Gingrich’s involvement in the page is hidden, a small footnote on the page’s “About” section. Additionally, as with most Internet content, the lack of gatekeepers means that this type of page presents whatever the creator wants it to present. In this case that means Romney’s supposedly “liberal” policies, while at the same time completely failing to mention anything that could be construed as positive about the candidate.
Political posturing is nothing new. Candidates have been slinging the metaphorical mud for as long as there have been candidates. But, what happens when that message is presented in an unexpected, and unassuming, way? From simply looking at the main Timeline of the “Romney Record” you would never assume that it was associated with another candidate. The danger lies in social media being distorted so that users begin to see this strategy as a reliable source for news and information, instead of what it really is: a political advertisement.
The use of social media in politics is so new and is still evolving, so the implications of Gingrich’s Timeline strategy are still yet to be seen. However, keep a close eye on the general election this fall, where social media is sure to be used by both candidates for a wide variety of purposes.
What do you think about politicians making their campaigns more socially savvy?
March 12th, 2012
By Guest Author
This is a guest post by Emily Matthews, who is currently applying to masters degree programs across the U.S. She loves to read about new research into health care, gender issues, and literature, and lives and writes in Seattle, Washington.
The folks at Facebook seem to always be tinkering with their formula, and within the last couple weejs, Facebook introduced a new type of profile: Timeline. It’s quite a change from the old type of profile, with your picture in the left-hand corner and your wall covering the majority of the page. Now you can essentially chronicle your entire life, from birth to the present.
The first most obvious change is the cover photo that spans across the top of your profile. This seems to be a change that makes your profile more like a blog with a header image. Your cover is to “fill this wide, open space with a unique image that represents you best. It’s the first thing people see when they visit your timeline.” You can choose from photos you have already uploaded in your albums or upload a new image from your computer. For my cover photo, I decided to go with a Wordle image that I created from one of my pieces of fiction. Perhaps use an image from Flickr as your cover photo if you’d like something artistic. The cover allows you to customize your profile to a greater extent than Facebook has allowed before.
The next most obvious change is the wall. The wall has disappeared and been replaced by your stories, with staggered boxes on the left and right with your status updates, photos, friend activity, and everything else that was normally posted to your wall. It’s a little busy in its layout; your eyes bounce from one side to the other, trying to figure out what should be read or looked at first. Facebookers dislike change, and messy change is often the first to frustrate.
The third most obvious change is the timeline itself. Facebook has always fallen short in its ability for a user to go back to older posts. Now you can click on the year you want (right-hand side) and go back to posts from years ago. Enjoy déjà vu when yuo read status updates and friends’ posts from five years ago or more (depending on how long you’ve had a Facebook. I have had my Facebook since my senior year of high school, so reading posts about dinner reservations for prom brings back great memories. The timeline feature also allows you to post “life events” within the timeline, such as moving to new places, attending schools, getting married, having children, earning a degree, etc. You can post photos to accompany these events. Your timeline even includes a post of when you are born! Although I would, perhaps, stay away from posting an actual photo of your birth.
The new Timeline profile is available now if you would like to play with it, and it’s a rather fun new entry in Facebook’s incessant tinkering. Some days I rather wish for the old school profile and news feed (remember when the news feed didn’t even exist?), but the Timeline is interesting enough to play with that, hopefully, not too many people will complain once they are forced to switch over.
January 6th, 2012
By Ben Haber
With so many social networks, sometimes it can be difficult to figure out where to post content and information. It’s important to remember that each social network has a different audience, and they want and expect (and react to) different types of content. How do you figure out which social network to post different types of content on? Let this amazing flow chart guide you…
Click on the chart to expand.
But in all seriousness, it is crucial to treat each social network differently, because your connections will vary on each, and so will the information your connections are interested in receiving from you. So unlink your Twitter handle to the other networks (except perhaps LinkedIn) and give each social network some personalized attention, so show them they you know who they are, and want to engage with them.
November 2nd, 2011
By Guest Author
This is a guest post by Sarah Willey. Follow her on Twitter @willey774.
For quite some time, police departments have been using social media to push out notifications about missing children. In January, Facebook set up 53 AMBER Alert pages — one for each of the 50 states, along with pages for the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. Interested Facebook users can sign up for alerts pertinent to their individual states. The notifications appear on news feeds as they’re issued, and can also be shared with users’ Facebook friends.
Since going missing last week, friends, family, strangers and even celebrities have taken to Facebook and Twitter to help find Indiana University student Lauren Spierer. Lauren was last seen in the early morning hours of last Friday walking to her apartment. She had reportedly been at a bar Thursday night and then went to a friend’s party. Her keys were found blocks away from where she was last seen, but there’s no other sign of her.
News of the situation was immediately shot out across Facebook: 126,000 people have agreed to attend a Facebook event titled “URGENT! Please help spread the word about Lauren Spierer’s disappearance!” and a Facebook page, find.lauren, has been liked by more than 20,000 people so far.
In addition, 11,000 people have joined a group in her name and a Twitter feed @NewsOnLaurenS which as of right now has more than 12,000 followers. It’s been used to tweet updates, distribute a photo flier, organize search parties and promote a fund set up by the IU Hillel to support search efforts. Several big celebrities have sent out tweets to help the campaign.
I hope it pays for Lauren and her family so this nightmare her family is going can be over.
June 9th, 2011
By Ben Haber
If you’ve been watching the news lately, I’m sure you’ve seen the Rep. Anthony Weiner Twitter story. In short, he sent a picture of himself to a woman via Twitter. After denying he sent the picture for about a week (he claimed his Twitter account was hacked), Rep. Weiner finally admitted that he did indeed send the picture, but it was meant to be a direct message.
While the details of this story have supplied endless jokes for the late night comedy shows, it also shows that people have a fabricated sense of privacy. How many times have you heard about people mistakenly sending public tweets that were meant to be private, sending photos that weren’t meant to be shared, or posting a Facebook status that was meant to be a private message.
The social media snafus are endless, and a lot of high-profile people have been making them. Politicians, athletes, actors, musicians – everyone has had their fare share of mistakes. And it’s not just limited to people. Companies, such as Chrysler and Red Cross, have been victim of careless Twitter mistakes when employees published their own tweet to the company handle by mistake.
So what does this all mean? I think there are 3 valuable social media lessons we can learn from Rep. Weiner’s Twitter failure:
- Learn how to use social media: If you’re not sure how to use the platform correctly, you’ll probably make a mistake.
- Don’t be stupid: If you’re sharing something through social media, make sure it’s appropriate. Privacy is an illusion, just because you share something through a private message, doesn’t mean the person receiving that information won’t publicly distribute that content with one click.
- Be honest: If you make a mistake just admit it. Rep. Weiner attracted so much more attention to this story by lying about it, which dragged it on for an entire week. If you mess up admit it right away and move it.
June 7th, 2011
By Brittany Falconer
Given that we’re checking Email in the middle of the night, is it really necessary for us to be checking Facebook while driving? It would appear so, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article. Email, I can understand. As noted in our last post, many of us (especially us PR folk) work in industries that don’t shut down at 5:00 on Friday, and as a result, we have grown somewhat dependent on our mobile devices that allow us to stay connected to our work at almost any given time. The need to check friends’ status updates while on the road is another story.
That all said, I’m not really sure how to address this emerging trend. Texting and driving is illegal in many states, including MA, but I know many people who disregard that law regularly. And if people aren’t texting and driving, there’s a good possibility that they’re eating, doing their makeup, playing with the radio, or checking Facebook while driving. In the WSJ article, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood compares his goals to change attitudes toward distracted driving to the efforts being made to eliminate drinking and driving. While there is definitely a heightened awareness of the dangers of the latter, we hear about the consequences all too often. It’s a long, up-hill struggle, ahead.
What do you think? Is Facebooking and driving a threat? If it is, is there really anything we can do to prevent it?
June 1st, 2011
By Ben Haber
The valuation of social networks has always been a tricky subject. Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, LinkedIn and others have been valued very highly at certain times, even though some aren’t yet profitable, and many not even have any revenue.
However, this morning LinkedIn officially IPO’d at $45 a share, and the stock price immediately shot up to over $100 per share (as I write this, it’s hovering around $110). While this gigantic share price leap is agonizing for shareholders that sold stock at $45, Facebook has to be watching this occur with a giant smile.
As the big dog in the social media world, Facebook not only is a stable of today’s life, but a very profitable company at this point. They’ve figured out how to turn their massive amount of data and information into a growing revenue stream and attract advertisers that want to directly reach their target audience. When (someday) Mark Zuckerberg and company decide it is time to IPO, they know with absolute certainty that their stock price is going to go through the roof, and will be one of the most highly anticipated IPOs in history.
May 19th, 2011
By Ben Haber
During the first two weeks of May I went abroad on vacation, but did much more then change locations. While I was away I turned off my phone shunned myself from all social networks – including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – and took a break from the fast-paced world of social media.
While I did use the Internet for the basic purposes of looking up directions, train schedules, etc., I thought of these two weeks as a cleansing period, where I could be disconnected from the (social) world. At first it was strange not to be constantly updated by friends and online connections, but after a few days my new reality began to feel normal. However, what I noticed most upon returning home, was the different feelings I’ve had towards Facebook and Twitter.
As I left for the airport I forgot about Twitter almost immediately and didn’t think about logging in until I received an email alerting me of a DM after returning home. Even then, it took three days for me to check Twitter. I’ve also found it awkward to begin using Twitter again after a 2 week hiatus, as tweeting (and mostly, reading all those tweets) feels more like a project then a welcome activity.
On the other hand, I went through Facebook detox the first few hours of my trip, wanting to log-in while waiting for my plane at the airport. While that feeling passed once I was in the air, upon returning home one of the first things I did online was check Facebook, and I spent some time on the site checking to see what friends had been up to while I was away.
Reflecting on my vacation and social media hiatus, I’ve come to the conclusion that Facebook is a much more natural fit to human behavior (at least for me). The way it organizes information and enables people to observe and interact is easy and interesting. I felt like I could easily see what I had missed while I had been away. On the other hand, Twitter didn’t pull me in, at all. It organizes information for real-time monitoring and engagement, and in no way was I functioning in real-time. It took me a few days to catch up to that speed (I’m still not there), and at points it feels like I need to re-learn the fast-paced Twitter environment.
I’m curious to hear from others that have taken a social media vacation, and how you’ve adjusted upon returning home. Please share your stories and experiences in the comment section below.
May 18th, 2011
By Ben Haber
Over the past week (and most recently yesterday), both Facebook and Google have announced that they have set up deal offers and will soon be launching their platforms in select cities (mostly on the west coast).
Google’s deal launch comes after a failed attempt to acquire Groupon, and Facebook had already added limited deals into its mobile check-ins which launched back in November 2010 and had been more similar to Foursquare then a daily deal site.
Even though Google and Facebook have hundreds of millions of users, it remains to be seen if they can successfully market their deals to regional/local audiences, something that daily deal companies Groupon, LivingSocial and BuyWithMe have successfully done.
Google and Facebook won’t be the first national Internet company to launch a daily deal. AOL launched wow.com, which is available in select cities around the US, and also features national deals. However, it’s never caught on like some of the others have.
While Facebook and Google have better access to users then AOL, their ability to successfully localize the deals and get the best merchants will be critical to their success. Of course, they could always team with current regional deal sites and publicize their offerings to a larger audience.
Will you check out the deals that Facebook and Google offer to your city?
*Disclosure: BuyWithMe is a Racepoint client.
April 26th, 2011