Uploaded on Mar 17, 2009
http://www.LiquidWeb.com - Liquid Web's Marketing Director, Travis Stoliker, was interviewed about using Facebook as a hiring tool.
"It's the weekend, you might be at a bar, or celebrating with friends, but all it takes is one photo -- frozen in time, circulating through cyberspace forever.
"The real problem comes because particularly young people believe that the only people who see the material they post on Facebook are their friends," said MSU Telecommunications Professor Dr. Charles Steinfield.
What's posted on the Internet stays on the Internet, and your digital dirt could come back to haunt you in real life.
"You never think about when you're on Facebook that you're looking sometimes at people you don't know very well, and then you have to remind yourself that people who don't know you very well may be looking at you as well," said MSU Junior Darcy Dittrich.
Dittrich knows from experience.
"I was an intern and they told me that sometimes they did check out applicants Facebook pages and they even warned me a little bit," Dittrich said.
Now she protects her profile with privacy settings for her photos and doesn't friend users she doesn't know -- cautious about the potential for others to peep her profile.
"People I didn't know were requesting my friendship and I felt kind of uncomfortable by that and then also just learning more about how different employers can have access to your profile," Dittrich said.
Employers like Liquid Web in Delta Township.
"There have been cases where we had a candidate that was unsatisfactory and then subsequently accessed their Facebook page and that was also unsatisfactory," said Travis Stolicker of Liquid Web.
The web hosting company employs 155 workers, many of whom they've recruiting off sites like Myspace and Twitter.
"Some people just have it wide open," Stolicker said.
So, what they find on there is fair game.
"It isn't necessarily to preclude someone from employment, but it is to kind of get some supplemental information about that candidate, we'll look for things like what are they passionate about, what to do they talk about frequently on Twitter -- their Facebook, how does it relate to their job requirements, maybe where have they worked in the past," Stolicker said.
So, how can users that you're not friends with snoop your profile you ask? If you're in the same university network or city and state network it's possible, or if you let friends tag you in photos, people you've never seen before may be able to see you.
"If you post a photo and you tag the people in those photos, those people's friends all then have access to all of the photos in a particular album," Steinfield said.
While you do retain ownership of the user content you post, even if you deactivate your account, Facebook's Terms of Service say the company may retain archived copies of your user content.
So how can you clean up your digital dirt?
"You can restrict access to your friends only for some parts of your profile, you can make certain parts of your profile available to some people and other parts not, and don't feel shy about asking someone to remove a photo if you think it's not appropriate," Steinfield said.
"There's actually also a feature where you can type in the name of a friend and then it shows you how they can view your profile so you can check to make sure that they're not seeing things that you don't want them to see," Dittrich said.
You can also block specific users from seeing your profile, but at the top of the rulebook for Facebook.
"Pretend that everything you put on Facebook could be seen by everybody," Steinfield said.
"I always try to keep things that I wouldn't want anyone to see off there because you never know who has access," Dittrich said.
"As more and more individuals put their information on social networking sites like Facebook, that information will be leveraged," Stolicker said.
So be diligent at making sure no one can dig up any dirt on you."