In one of my previous posts, I talked about the growing prevalence of social media background checks and some guidelines issued by Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) of Alberta.

Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner, Dr. Ann Cavoukian has recently released a paper titled “Reference Check: Is Your Boss Watching? The New World of Social Media: Privacy and Your Facebook Profile”. The paper provides guidance and practical advice to end users on how to protect their online privacy.

The paper acknowledges that web and social media tools are increasingly being used by hiring managers to perform background checks on potential employees – an effort to make sure that the right person is hired.

The paper reminds users that content posted online may stay there for a long time or even forever and such content may potentially affect employment prospects. The paper provides very refreshing and practical guidance on steps users can take to minimize such risks.

  • Think hard before you post
  • Be aware of publicly available information about you on search engines, discussion forums, social networking websites etc
  • Review and optimize your privacy settings on online social networks
  • Educate yourself about your rights – a prospective employer should not be requesting access to your password protected social media websites

In Summary, users should only post content to the web after considering someday, somebody could be making a decision about your personality and character solely based on the content available on the web.