Three Parts of Our Secret Sauce for Social Media Background Checks
There is no telling where the next Social Media Background Checks will lead. Sometimes we encounter people with a sprawling Internet presence and thousands of postings, and for some people there is barely a trace.
A good Social Media Background Check is not at all an automated process, but instead requires good judgment about what to do and where to look next. As Henry Kissinger once said “We shall go where the facts lead us.” (even though he was speaking of a different investigation). Anyway three parts of our secret sauce that are sometimes called into play are summarized below:
Google Photo Search – Most people use the same photo across many social media sites. And did you know that photos are searchable? So in addition to formal names, informal names, user names and email addresses, we can often use a Google tool and do an image search through Instragram, FB, blogs and thousands of other Internet locations. Sometimes this can reveal completely fake profiles.
FB Search – Facebooks privacy policies and settings are notoriously confusing – and changing. So some people think that all of their information is hidden from public view, when in fact it isn’t at all; just a little coaxing is required to find it. Facebook actually has a search engine for its own site where complex queries can be run with simple commands such as:
PHOTOS of people NAMED “FirstName LastName”
Example :PHOTOS of people NAMED “Shannen Doherty”
FRIENDS of people NAMED “FirstName LastName”
Example :FRIENDS of people NAMED “Heather Locklear”
As always, the query results should be considered as “maybe true” and verified since not everything seen on social media sites is correct (News Flash!).
Instagram Tag Search – Similar to FaceBook, increasingly popular photo-sharing site Instagram (300 million users) offers a desktop tool where queries can be run using names, GPS tags, hashtags and more. Once again, the query results should be considered as “maybe true” and need to be verified but group or location photos may certainly yield important possibilities that need to be pursued.
Social Media Background Checks, in contrast to Credit or Criminal background checks, require careful thinking and plenty of good tools (C&C Checks are more of a data-processing intensive operation, as db’s are searched for “matters of record”). The three tools briefly described above are only a few of the ones available that can be used to verify employee credentials, or uncover areas where personal interests may be in conflict with employer concerns.