Facebook will soon be releasing their latest feature to the Facebook community – the Open Graph search tool. This allows users to perform a number of advanced searches on Facebook, and offers a much better search tool than they currently possess.
Facebook search has long been an issue among its users, with other social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ providing much better search functionality. Many are welcoming the feature, but it’s not without its privacy concerns. While social media background screening isn’t necessarily a best practice in the employment screening process, many employers engage in it, and Facebook’s latest tool could potentially become the most effective tool employer’s use when researching potential job candidates.
Once implemented, Open Graph will allow Facebook users to perform detailed searches on the entire Facebook community using a variety of filters to produce any information on a user that is set to public.
Open Graph allows employers to type in what they want to research about an individual, and Facebook will retrieve it. If it’s public, then it’s liable to turn up at the business end of an Open Graph search. So job seekers looking to secure employment may run into problems if they, for example, have uploaded drunken or embarrassing photos of themselves onto Facebook.
Even if you have strict privacy settings, Open Graph search presents a further problem. Arguably some of the most potentially embarrassing information uploaded to Facebook – photos – are not uploaded by the users themselves but by their friends. And of course these photos are subject to the privacy settings specified by the friend, and can easily be discovered by employers.
Some states are already trying to ban social media employment screening, while many suggest it is a risky move. Employers may come across information regarding an applicant’s race, religious views or age – including such attributes in any hiring decision is illegal, so they must tread carefully.
Have you tested Open Graph yet? Would you consider using it to screen job candidates?