A Santa Barbara, Calif., startup called Social Intelligence data-mines the social networks to help companies decide if they really want to hire you.
While background checks, which mainly look for a criminal record, and even credit checks have become more common, Social Intelligence is the first company that I'm aware of that systematically trolls social networks for evidence of bad character.
Using automation software that slogs through Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, LinkedIn, blogs, and "thousands of other sources," the company develops a report on the "real you" -- not the carefully crafted you in your resume. The service is called Social Intelligence Hiring. The company promises a 48-hour turn-around.
Because it's illegal to consider race, religion, age, sexual orientation and other factors, the company doesn't include that information in its reports. Humans review the reports to eliminate false positives. And the company uses only publically shared data -- it doesn't "friend" targets to get private posts, for example.
The reports feature a visual snapshot of what kind of person you are, evaluating you in categories like "Poor Judgment," "Gangs," "Drugs and Drug Lingo" and "Demonstrating Potentially Violent Behavior." The company mines for rich nuggets of raw sewage in the form of racy photos, unguarded commentary about drugs and alcohol and much more.
The company also offers a separate Social Intelligence Monitoring service to watch the personal activity of existing employees on an ongoing basis. The service is advertised as a way to enforce company social media policies, but given that criteria are company-defined, it's not clear whether it's possible to monitor personal activity...
(if you have - or want - a job it's time to trash your facebook and twitter accts - fc)